Blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, and associated dry eye syndrome affect 30 million Americans...and demodex mites are a HUGE contributor to these issues!
Demodex mites are parasites that live in and around the eyelids in humans. There are two types of demodex that live on humans: Demodex brevis and demodex folliculorum. Demodex brevis lives in the sebaceous glands, while demodex folliculorum lives in the hair follicles. Since we have both hair follicles and glands in our eyelids, this is the perfect place for these little buggers to hide out.
Demodex feed on dead skin, oil, and bacteria that our bodies produce, and they lay eggs and replicate rather quickly. They are usually not an issue, as everyone does have some level of demodex, but they can quickly become problematic if they become overpopulated.
Those at risk for ocular and skin problems due to demodex include the elderly, those who are immunocompromised, and those who have other inflammatory conditions.
Although demodex is usually not problematic, signs and symptoms can arise if they have enough bacteria and other things to feed on. Some symptoms you may notice include:
Due to this staggering amount of people that need help with eyelid disease, and specifically demodex, quite a few new products have entered the market in recent years.
Here, I put together the top five demodex treatment products to help kill those eyelash mites and soothe your blepharitis, MGD, and dry eye symptoms. One key thing to note about demodex treatment is the use of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is great at killing demodex mites and their eggs, and it is the only known remedy to do so.
Released May 2020, the MediViz Tea Tree Eyelid Wipes are great way to clean your eyes daily. Use them for cleaning the lids and lashes, removing debris and dead skin cells, and getting rid of pollen and allergens. The wipes also double as a makeup remover.
Water, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Decyl Glucoside, Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Panthenol, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Trioleate, Propanediol,1, 2-Hexanediol, Sodium Bicarbonate,
Sodium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol
This is my "go-to" product for patients in my clinic currently. It is very gentle and I have had great success with this product.
Released in June 2017, the Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap Bar is a very effective, all-natural, vegan solution. Tea tree oil is a known demodex killer, and this handmade soap bar contains only 5 ingredients: organic green tea, organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, raw shea butter, and tea tree essential oil.
It is alcohol free, vegan, contains no parabens or sulfates, and is preservative free. Tea tree oil is a proven treatment for not only demodex, but acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions without the use of harsh chemicals.
5 Ingredients for Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap
Using products with too many harsh chemicals can wreak havoc on the skin of your face and around your eyes, causing redness, irritation, and inflammation which can lead to blemishes, acne, blepharitis, styes, dry eyes, and meibomian gland dysfunction.
Heyedrate’s Foaming Tea Tree Face Wash hydrates the skin with organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, and 19 other plant extracts and botanicals. All without the use of chemicals or harsh ingredients -- so you can get back to enjoying the life you love.
Liquid Soap (Purified Water, Saponified Organic Extra Virgin Olive, Organic Coconut & Organic Sunflower Oils), Vegetable Glycerin, Extracts of: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Salix Alba (Willow Bark), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice), Echinacea Angustifolia (Echinacea), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Hypericum Perforatum (St. John's Wort), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Populus Tremuloides (Aspen Bark), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Leaf), Phyllanthus Emblica (Amalaki Fruit), Calendula Officinalis (Calendula), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower), Citrus Limonum (Lemon), Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme), Algae, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel); Gluconolactone & Sodium Benzoate (Ecocert Approved Preservative) and Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree), Ocimum Basilicum (Basil), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Essential Oils.
Cliradex towelettes are a natural way to keep the eyelids and skin clean, comfortable and healthy. Cliradex wipes are formulated with a higher concentration of tea tree oil (4-Terpineol) ideal for moderate-to-severe ocular irritation and eliminating demodex mites.
This product is preservative free and has been scientifically shown to be safe and effective to control lid margin diseases.
We have used this product successfully in our clinics and patients are generally happy with the outcome.
Safe for all skin types. Avoid direct eye contact, as tea tree oil can irritate the eyes.
Formulated in Australia, Ungex is now available in the US and provides a complete facial, hair, and body system for treating demodex.
This natural, herbal based product effectively kills demodex and is recommended to be used for at least three months to ensure total elimination of the mites.
Although this is not just an eyelid cleanser, it is intriguing and a product we recommend to patients who have severe demodex.
We Love Eyes Foaming Cleanser uses 100% all natural ingredients, including tea tree oil, to attack bacteria and demodex mites to combat red, itchy, irritated eyelid symptoms. We Love Eyes products use 100% vegan and gluten-free ingredients which are safe and gentle on your delicate eyelids and the skin around your eyes.
Safe for all skin types. Avoid direct eye contact, as tea tree oil can irritate the eyes.
From OCuSOFT's website:
An extra strength cleanser with tea tree oil that effectively relieves irritation by removing oil, debris, pollen and other contaminants from eyelashes, eyelids and the face and aids in the removal of adult Demodex mites and their offspring when used daily.
It also contains a moisturizer and preservative blend that offers anti-bacterial properties.
Heyedrate Eye Cream and Face Moisturizer helps relieve inflammation by controlling demodex symptoms, giving you relief from persistent itching of the face, burning, stinging and itchy dryness caused by these pesky eyelash mites.
The cream is completely safe for use on your cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, face, neck and ears.
This is a great adjunct to the tea tree soap and hypochlorous acid (more below). If you feel like your demodex is out of control, then I would add this cream to the tea tree soap cleansing, followed by a hypochlorous acid spray, then apply the cream to affected areas.
Released in 2017, Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser is one of the first over-the-counter hypochlorous acid sprays. This natural, non-detergent based spray is perfect for deep cleaning the skin, which makes it great for soothing any skin irritation you have such as cuts, scrapes, redness, swelling, burning, itching, or crustiness of the eyelid margin.
It has been shown to eliminate contaminants on the skin and is a great maintenance option for demodex, since it eliminates the substances they feed on.
We recommend this in adjunct to one of the above tea tree oil products. Since this product doesn't contain tea tree oil, it doesn't directly kill demodex mites, but it does help keep your eyelids clean.
Cleaner eyelids means less oil and skin debris for demodex to snack on.
We should not have to say this, but you MUST remove your makeup at night, even if you don't believe you're suffering from demodex. Makeup is full of bacteria and can become a breeding ground for demodex, especially while we sleep. We recommend using this eye makeup remover oil because it contains tea tree essential oil for killing demodex. It's also oil-based, which makes it incredibly effective at removing even waterproof makeup.
To use this makeup remover, simply place 3-5 drops onto a cotton ball or round and massage it into your eyelids, concentrating on the base of the eyelashes.
Once the makeup is smudged and then ultimately removed, rinse and follow up with the a tea tree oil soap.
Sometimes cleaning your sheets is the last thing on your mind, but you need to put it to the top of the list if you have demodex. Make sure to wash your sheets and towels at least once per week, and change your towels out more often if you can.
Washing and drying at a hot temperature will help kill bacteria and demodex. Also, you want to make sure you're using products that don't contain chemicals that could be further irritating to the eyes. We love using Eco Nuts to wash (instead of your normal laundry detergent) and organic wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets.
We love getting sweaty just like the next person. Working up a sweat during exercise is one of the best ways to feel great about your body and get your mind right. However, all that extra sweat can quickly lead to bacteria build up.
Right after your workout, head to the shower and wash all over with Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap or any other tea tree soap. The soap can be used all over the hair, face, and body for an ultimate fight against demodex. Not only will you remove bacteria and dead skin (their food) but you'll also begin to kill them directly.
We discussed the fact that demodex love feeding on dead skin cells, so this last tip is important. Make sure you're exfoliating your face regularly to remove the dead skin that could be hanging around. You don't have to do this every single day, but it's a good idea to try it a few times per week while you're suffering from demodex.
You can use a simple salt or sugar scrub on your face and body in the shower. Also, we recommend trying out the NuLids device for your eyelids. This device allows you to exfoliate your eyelid margins at home, without a visit to your eye doctor!
The NuLids device is simple to use. Once in hand and charged, turn it on and place a brand new, sterile tip into the device. Cover the tip with an eye gel, such as Celluvisc, and now you're ready to begin. Hit the on button again and the device will begin to spin, so you'll simply run the tip along the bottom eyelid margin of one eye for 15 seconds until the device stops and then move to another lid until you've exfoliated all four (top and bottom on both eyes). Click here to learn more about the benefits of NuLids.
Cliradex can be used daily and indefinitely. You may find that, as time goes on, you will not need it every single day, but it is safe and effective when used on a daily basis.
Yes, Cliradex can be purchased over the counter, online, and in some eye doctor's offices. This makes it simple for you to purchase wherever and however you wish.
Symptoms of eyelash mites may include itchiness of the eyelids or eyes, redness around the eyes, scaling of the eyelids, a burning sensation around the eyes, dry eyes, and even a flare up of skin conditions such as rosacea or dermatitis.
Cliradex towelettes are a natural way to keep the eyelids and skin clean, comfortable and healthy. Cliradex wipes are formulated with a higher concentration of tea tree oil (4-Terpineol), ideal for moderate-to-severe ocular irritation and eliminating demodex mites. This product is preservative free and has been scientifically shown to be safe and effective to control lid margin diseases.
This is up to you and your doctor. Cliradex is safe to use daily and indefinitely, although once you have any demodex mites under control you may be able to reduce the amount that you're using. As always, make sure to speak with your doctor regarding your eyelid hygiene regimen.
Eyelid hygiene is the most important treatment for demodex eyelash mites. First, make sure you're completely removing your makeup before bed. Wash your face with a tea tree oil soap, and cleanse your eyelids with either a tea tree oil cleanser or a hypochlorous acid cleanser. This process should be followed twice per day.
Yes, Cliradex has been tested to be safe and effective for eyelid cleansing. If you're concerned about daily use, you can try Cliradex Light foam.
The form of Cliradex you choose will dictate how it's used, but here are general directions:
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