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Eyelash extensions can be very useful in making lashes seem fuller. But while they may look good, if not cared for properly they may also contribute to eyelash mites and infection.
What are eyelash extensions?
Most eyelash extensions are synthetic and made from a silk blend – it is uncommon to use natural or mink lashes these days, which is a good thing! The extensions are glued to your natural lashes, near the hair follicle. The process takes about two hours. A full set of lashes lasts about two to four weeks; therefore, they need to be regularly maintained.
What are mites?
Mites are small insects that can cause skin irritation and intense itching. They almost never transmit diseases to humans, though.
What are lice?
Lice are parasites that attach themselves to human hair and feed on blood. While head lice are a common concern, especially among young people, the eyelashes can also be home to lice. Like mites, they can cause skin irritation and itching. Lice can be transferred from one person to another, but it is uncommon to transfer lice via synthetic lashes.
Both mites and lice can be microscopic and difficult to see with the naked eye.
How would I get eyelash mites or lice?
Eyelash mites, also known as demodex, occur naturally on everyone’s lashes in small quantities. However, a large quantity of them can cause problems such as ocular irritation and secondary infection/inflammation.
Mites can build up if eyelash extensions aren’t properly cleaned. You can catch lice by being near people who already have lice, or with clothing or other items infested with lice.
How do I treat my eyelashes?
A good first step to prevent mite buildup is to make sure you regularly clean your eyelashes and extensions. Also, avoid anyone you know who might have lice issues.
“I often recommend my patients clean lids and lashes with tea tree oil shampoo or lid scrubs to prevent buildup of eye mites,” CEENTA Optometrist Sandra Nassar, OD, said. “There is a specific eyelash extension-safe product called ‘We Love Eyes Tea Tree Eyelid Foaming Cleanser’ that is vegan, paraben-free, and very gentle.”
If this doesn’t work, make an appointment with an eye doctor. They will diagnose you to determine if you do indeed have mite or lice issues, and will develop a treatment plan for you, which may include medicine.
Full eyelashes can look very nice, but remember, it’s just as important to keep your eyes clean and healthy, too.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Nassar? Call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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