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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Blepharitis. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blepharitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370141 [Accessed 21st December 2020]
- National Eye Institute. (2019). Blepharitis. Retrieved from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/blepharitis [Accessed 21st December 2020]
- Lui J, et al. (2010). Pathogenic role of Demodex mites in blepharitis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946818 [Accessed 21st December 2020]
- American Optometric Association. Blepharitis. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/blepharitis [Accessed 21st December 2020]