Eyelash Lice vs Mites: What to look out for
Posted on February 11 2020
A few months ago, stories circulated the news media cycle warning women who have eyelash extensions of “eyelash lice”. If you’re like us, you probably haven’t thought about lice since the weird kid in your second grade class got it, so this is scary stuff! If you’re having itching and irritation with your extensions, a buildup of microscopic organisms may be eating your skin… but there is some good news! Doctors tell USA TODAY that they're actually mites, not lice. Still kinda gross.. but at least it sounds a little better!
Dr. Gregory J. Nixon is the Associate Dean for Clinical Services at the Ohio State University College of Optometry. He says that people are confusing mites and lice in their extensions, but that there is actually an important distinction between the two.
Lice are parasites that suck blood and are usually the size of a poppy seed. They can usually be seen by the naked eye, he said. While lice are highly contagious and can be transferred from one person to another, Dr. Nixon says he doubts that they would be able to be transferred through eyelash extensions.
Mites, on the other hand, are microscopic organisms that live on all mammals. They don't suck blood, but instead eat dead skin cells.
“Eyelash extensions are synthetic, it’s not natural,” he said. “The extensions are not transmitting anything or serving as a vector for people to get infected by something like lice.” Says Dr. Nixon. He also says that mites don't normally cause any issues, but irritation or infection could occur if they are left untreated or if there is a build up of these mites around the eye.
Healthline.com describes the symptoms of lash mites as:
- itching or a “tickling” feeling
- “sticky” lashes
- brown or black spots at the base of the eyelashes
Dr. Nixon says that mites and overall irritation is a common issue among people who practice poor hygiene and don't wash around their eyes, not just women with eyelash extensions. Many women think that if they can refrain from cleaning their lashes, or getting them wet at all, the eyelash extensions will last longer. However, cleaning your lashes is an important part of not only maintaining them, but also of your overall hygiene and health.
The best prevention method for mites is to establish a daily routine of washing around the eyes with a cleansing product, and warm water. This helps break up the oils that fuel the mites. It is important to remember to use a lash-friendly cleansing product, so that your eyelash extensions stay on. Take a look at our BlushRock Lash and Face Makeup Remover, it is safe to use on lash extensions and will keep the mites away!
Dr. Nixon continues to say that irritation from eyelash extensions and even mites will typically go away after the lashes are removed, but what if you want to keep your extensions on? If you’re having concerns, give us a call at 1 (844) 258-7476 or schedule an appointment today!
Photo by ABC Action News WXYZ in Detroit.