Eyelash Mites: The Truth About Eyelash Extensions (With Pictures)

Lash mite infestation on lash line. Circled lash mites eggs.

If you have visited Divine Lashes then you have heard us talk to you about eyelash mites. I know, gross. However, it is important to know what lash mites are and how to prevent an infestation.

Lash mites or eyelash mites (also known as Demodex folliculitis) are microscopic parasites found in the follicles on our faces. They eat the dead skin cells and oils on our eyelids. Eyelash extensions do not cause lash mites. Poor hygiene is the number one cause of lash mites.

In this article we’ll elaborate on how to identify lash mites and how to get rid of them. I’ll also share pictures of actual clients who had lash mites so you’ll know what to look for.

What Are Lash Mites?

Lash mites are parasites that live in the follicles on our face. They eat the dead skin cells and oils on your eyelid. Just like we have skin mites and dust mites, lash mites are no different. No matter how many times I talk about eyelash mites, they always make my skin crawl! Pretty much everyone has a small number of lash mites on their eyelashes and they are usually harmless, most people don’t even know they have them. They help keep the lash follicles clean because they are eating the dirt and oils. Only when there are many lash mites does it become a problem.

In the image below, you can see how lash mites can be found in the follicles of your eyelashes.

Lash mites (Demodex) in the hair follicles and in the sebaceous glands.

Do Eyelash Extensions Cause Lash Mites?

Eyelash extensions do not cause lash mites. The number one reason that causes an unnatural increase in the number of lash mites is poor hygiene, NOT lash extensions. Having said that, properly caring for your eyelash extensions is key to prevent excessive oil and bacteria buildup. That would be a perfect environment for a lash mite infestation.

I will address lash extension hygiene in this article so keep on reading!

How Do I Know if I Have Lash Mites?

When there are too many lash mites, they get overcrowded on the lash line resulting in numerous mites face down in each hair follicle. If there are too many lash mites in one hair follicle your natural lash will slip out and you will experience lash loss.

The picture below was taken from a new client who came for an eyelash extension consultation. She had her lashes done at another salon before coming to us. As you can see, the client suffered from severe lash mite build-up on her lash line.

Lash mite infestation on lash line.



Symptoms of eyelash mites can be classified in varying levels of severity:

  • Mild symptoms. There are no noticeable symptoms at this stage. Lash mites are usually harmless, most people don’t even know they have them.
  • Moderate symptoms. You may experience itchiness around the eye, redness and swelling of the eyelid.
  • Advanced symptoms. Symptoms will progress towards a scaly, rough patches of skin. You might also feel a burning sensation of the eye, blurry vision and light sensitivity.

How to Get Rid of Lash Mites?

Now that we know what lash mites are let’s talk about how to avoid an infestation.

Lash mites do not like the light, so they are face down in your hair follicle throughout the day; at night is when they come out. If you have makeup, dead skin and/or oils on your lash line this becomes a buffet for them.

The more they have to eat the more they will lay eggs because your lash line has become the perfect place for them to start a family. This is how you get an infestation.

So how do you prevent lash mites? The most important tip to remember is washing your face at night!

Here at Divine Lashes we provide every client with a bottle of lash shampoo which consists of distilled water, baking soda, and baby shampoo. The baby shampoo suppresses the growth of bacteria which is exactly what you want to get rid of lash mites and prevent them. We also recommend taking a break from wearing makeup around the eye area.

If the infestation is severe, we recommend taking a break from eyelash extensions and speaking to an eye doctor.

Will Eyelash Extensions Fall Out if I Wash Them?

I often get asked if washing eyelash extensions will cause them to fall out prematurely. There is a common misconception that your eyelash extensions might be falling faster if you wash them.

It is true that we don’t want you over washing your lashes aggressively and scrubbing, rubbing or tugging them with a facecloth. However, washing your eyelash extensions gently with a safe shampoo cleanser is absolutely recommended for maintaining healthy and beautiful lash extensions. As long as it’s done with care, you will not lose your extensions any more than you would normally.

If you want to know more about how long eyelash extensions last and your lash growth cycle, check out this article I have written recently.

Lash Mite Example #1

Let me tell you a story about a client I once had who wore goggles in the shower. She didn’t want the water to hit her eyelashes and make her extensions fall off. She was not washing her lashes or letting the water rinse them out.

When she came to Divine Lashes, you could see the build up on her lashes as soon as she walked in. The Divine Lash Artist who did consultation with her learned that her prior lash technician (from another salon) did not give her proper after care instructions and just did a removal and a new set because she was not sure what this client had!

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@Divine_Lashes on Instagram

During the consultation the Divine Lash Artist went through after care instructions, and how it will help her lash mite infestation. It took 20 minutes to clean the lash line with lash shampoo.

Because the extensions used on this client were too heavy, the Divine Lash Artist first removed the old extensions and then applied a fresh set. The set was a recovery set as her lashes were weak, thin, and sparse. Even after the appointment she was told about after care and lash mites…

Once you get an infestation, it takes a while to get rid of it. Every time she came in for a fill, we would monitor her lashes to see how they were doing.

She was letting the water hit her lash extensions in the shower and we began to see an improvement in her lashes. This unfortunately did not last; she began wearing the goggles again in the shower and we noticed the build up again. She noticed that when she washed her lashes many of her extensions and lashes were coming out…

Her lashes were falling prematurely due to the abundance of lash mites! She had less and less natural lashes and we noticed some of her lashes slipping out when we washed them. We had to tell her we could no longer put eyelash extensions on her until this cleared up.

This is one extreme example where we had to refuse servicing a client. She understood the situation, took a break from lash extensions and started washing her lashes regularly. The infestation eventually got resolved and the client restarted wearing eyelash extensions with healthy cleaning habits.

Lash Mite Example #2

Eyelash extension close-up up with sebum buildup

What you see on the picture above is oil buildup that solidified. The client tried to remove these chunks by herself and that’s why you can see very messy (twisted) lashes. These blocks of sebum are not dangerous but they are the perfect lash mite buffet!

This client has been coming to Divine Lashes for about a year, and never had this on her lash line before. Naturally, her Divine Lashes technician started asking questions. The client doesn’t wear make-up and doesn’t use any products for her face. So what could it be?

It turns out she wasn’t washing her lashes at all. Remember that little bottle of liquid gold (lash shampoo) we provide at the appointment? Lash shampoo suppresses the growth of bacteria and cleans your lash line.

Thankfully, we were able to re-educate about washing the eyelashes and this problem got resolved.

Final Thoughts

With everything that’s being said about lash mites, keep in mind that most people don’t even know they exist. Keeping a clean and healthy lash line is the way to go to prevent eyelash mites.

Eyelash extensions are safe and do not cause lash mites. Poor hygiene does!

Please let me know in the comments below if you had any bad experience with eyelash mites or if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you.

Check out our article on how to sleep with eyelash extensions if you want to avoid your lashes falling-out while you sleep!

Ok ladies and gentlemen now you know all about lash mites and how to keep your eyelashes clean. Have a goodnight and don’t let the lash mites bite!

References

14 Comments

  1. I had no idea about lash mites! They give me the creeps 😉 I have been wearing eyelash extensions for more than 2 years and never had the issues mentioned in this post. I take my eyelash hygiene very seriously.

    1. Hey Catherine,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! I couldn’t agree more with your comment about lash extension hygiene. We always educate our clients on this very important habit.

  2. I think I have them only on my right eye my eyelid gets swollen. Red and itchy and dry I thought it was psoriasis my extensions have been coming out without a lash attached and a lot. Omg im gonna wash wash wash home remedy would you say baking soda and a mild soap or antibacterial soap I use the cleaning stuff they gave me but this has to be whatz going on

    1. Hey Ashley,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! You can definitely start with cleansing the lash line with the shampoo that your studio gave you. Another tip is you can get a deeper cleanse if you use a eyeshadow brush to help cleanse the lash line.

  3. How should the baby shampoo be applied to the lash line? I was never given the proper information on how to cleanse my lashes, I’m afraid I HAvnt done it correctly.

    1. Hey D,

      Thank you for your question! The baby shampoo should be applied to the lashes in a foam format, and the best way to get a deeper cleanse is using a soft eyeshadow brush. I hope this was helpful!

  4. Oh wow I knew nothing about lash mites I’ve been wearing this set of lashes for probably a year now😵 I don’t clean them but definitely clean my face. I was actually shopping for lashes (finally) and ran across this article. Now I know why my lashes always fall out. I will be throwing them away and buying new ones with a correct cleaning routine. Thanks for this.

    1. Hi Destini,

      Thank you for your comment! I’m so glad you found this article helpful 🙂 When the lashes are applied properly they will fall out with your natural eyelashes, some clients can shed anywhere from 1 to 5 lashes per day, so some fall out is completely normal. However, lash hygiene is super important while wearing lash extensions so please try it and see if it helps!

  5. My Doctor told me to take a wash cloth and warm water and apply it to my eyes every morning, but maybe I should do it at night too.

    1. Hey Louise,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! I think it would definitely be helpful to cleanse your eyes morning and evening 🙂

  6. Is it contagious can you get this off somebody and can little kids get this because I saw this little girl that she had that stuff in her eyelashes and she’s always getting stye in her eyes she is my neighbor and is it contagious

    1. Hi Patty, thank you for your question! Yes, they can be contagious, which is why its important not to share eye cosmetics with others. This is mainly caused by poor hygiene so you can get them at any age.

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