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What Are Demodex Eyelash Mites? How Does Tea Tree Oil Help?

September 05, 2017 6 min read

Demodex eyelash mites live on humans, which is a bit alarming but it’s similar to how we have bacteria covering our bodies all the time. It’s normal, most of the time! Demodex are tiny mites that stay in or near the hair follicles.

Demodex is quite common and tends to overpopulate the follicles as humans gets older. About 84% of people around 60 years of age and 100% of adults who are 70 and above are demodex infested. This shows that the older you get, the higher the risk of getting infested with demodex and noticing symptoms because of it.

How can Tea Tree Oil Help Treat Acne, Blepharitis, Demodex Eyelash Mites, and Dry Eyes?

Over the years, tea tree oil has been used to cure different skin diseases, and its effect on skin is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.Tea tree oil is often given the credit of being a natural cure for acne, therefore, it's a common home remedy for acne and other skin ailments.

If you decide to use tea tree oil, make sure it is diluted well and you avoid the sun while using it. It can make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

Blepharitis is a common eye disorder which can result from demodex, and it is most often chronic. Blepharitis rarely goes away easily and completely, and it must be continually managed. When this eyelid inflammation is caused by demodex, tea tree oil may be the answer.

Tea tree oil is an absolute relief to demodex and dry eyes. It is a wonderful antibacterial compound, however if used on the eyes without being diluted, it will burn. There are quite a few tea tree oil products on the market which are designed for this reason, and we recommend trying one of those before attempting to dilute tea tree oil yourself. We will cover some of these later in the article.

What are Demodex Eyelash Mites?

So let’s reverse a bit. Demodex folliculorum and demodex brevis are popularly known as eyelash mites. Of the sixty-five species of demodex existing, they are the two species that live on the human body. Demodex infestation is a usual phenomenon and it usually has no symptoms.

Demodex folliculorum is normally located in the hair follicles, while demodex brevis exists in the sebaceous glands. These two species of demodex are found mostly on the face, eyebrows, eyelashes, and near the nose, but can also be found all over the body.

The female and male demodex mites have genital openings and fertilization is internal, so these species lay their eggs inside the sebaceous glands and hair follicles. They hatch very fast and develop into adults quite early too; within three to four days, the six-legged larvae hatch, and these larvae grow into adults in about seven days. The full lifetime of a demodex mite is only a couple of weeks.

Overgrowth of these mites is thought to be a major cause of blepharitis, rosacea and other cases related to corneal and conjunctival abnormalities. Dr  Tseng's recognition of tea tree oil as a treatment for demodex eyelash mites is epic, because it works against these mites, eventually killing them. The amazing thing is that once the mites are gone, patients will often feel immediate relief.

Demodex Symptoms and Signs

As mentioned above, there are basically two species of demodex that lives on humans, which are: demodex brevis and demodex folliculorum, the symptoms of which will be listed below.

  • A burning sensation on the skin
  • Red skin
  • Rough skin texture
  • Eczema
  • Itchy skin
  • Redness
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Blepharitis
  • Rosacea

Demodex Treatment in Humans for Face and Eyelashes 

For years, there was no treatment for demodex until the identification of tea tree oil as a remedy by Dr Tseng and his colleagues. For demodex treatment, here are a few other useful tips:

  • Use tea tree shampoo for your eyelashes, hair, and body daily
  • Ensure that you are using clean sheets (washed and dried on hot)
  • Avoid wearing makeup during treatment
  • Discard old makeup and beauty products
  • Avoid sharing washcloths and towels with others

Heyedrate Tea Tree Soap

Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap

Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap is organic and healthy for the skin. Its composition contains: organic coconut oil, raw shea butter, organic olive oil, organic green tea and tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil has been shown to effectively treat all kinds of skin irregularities, andHeyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap works well for dry eyes, meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, acne and rosacea, killing demodex mites, inflamed and itchy skin, and helping to increase contact lens comfort.

For rapid results, wash your hands and face with lukewarm water, apply the lather soap on your hands, gently rub on your face with closed eyelids in a circular gentle motion, and rinse well before using a towel to pat dry. Repeat this action daily, specifically during the morning and at night. Make sure it doesn't enter the eyes directly, as tea tree oil is an irritant to the eyeballs. However, if it unavoidably enters, wash thoroughly with water.

Even better, use the soapall over your body while you’re in the shower!

Cliradex Eyelid Wipes

Another option for treating demodex isCliradex. This uses a preservative free, natural preparation of tea tree oil particularly aimed at cleaning the lashes, eyelids and the face.  Cliradex eyelid wipes have a terpinol formula, and scientific studies shows that it is the most essential component found in tea tree oil active for the treatment of demodex mites.

We know demodex can be incredibly annoying and a huge burden on you and your family when it overpopulates. By taking the steps mentioned above, you can help prevent and eliminate demodex so that your eyes, face, and body both feel and look better.

One Love,

Drs. Travis and Jenna Zigler

Click here to get Dr. Jenna's E-book, The Dry Eye Book, for FREE


Eyelid scrubs, like Cliradex, have tea tree oil in them and tea tree oil is good for demodex. Demodex are eyelash bugs that lives in your eyelash follicles, the hair follicles of your eyelids.

We can see them and their eggs on the eyelash margin during an exam, and have seen them a lot. It's not pleasant! Lots of older patients have it so we see it often.

A little sneak peek into what's coming... I know it's been since June since we did a soft launch on our Heyedrate Tea Tree Soap Bar, but we have this in hand and this should now be available.  

It took a little longer than expected to get the soap back in stock because these are actually handmade here in South Carolina. We just met with the manufacturer that makes them and she has a little soap boutique that does high end soaps, deodorants, and other things that we use.

We asked her if she could make a tea tree oil one for us for our blepharitis patients, and she agreed. She's great and knows a lot about natural cosmetics and beauty!

Back to Cliradex and other tea tree scrubs on the market...they often have lots of unpronounceable ingredients.

Tea tree oil might dry out the skin of some people but it is safe. We use it for everything. We use our soap bar for hair, face, and in the shower for full body.

Five ingredients in the Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap:

  1. Organic green tea
  2. Organic olive oil
  3. Organic coconut oil
  4. Shea butter
  5. Tea tree oil

Some people will find that it is a little bit drying because tea tree oil can be drying. You can start out once or twice a day, and if you find out that it is just too drying for your skin, back it off a little bit and use it every other day.

We're promoting it as a face soap so you can wash your whole face with this.

Keep it by your sink and then you can just wet your hands, wet your face, rub it on, lather it up on your face, and then rinse it off.

Just don’t get it in your eyes... try to avoid that; This does not have lye in it (which causes the eyes to burn) but it still does a really effective job. Get one for your shower, one for your sink!

2 Responses

Ashley - operations manager at eye love
Ashley - operations manager at eye love

February 06, 2018

hey Connee – We recommend closing the eyes tightly while washing your face, just like you normally would. The soap can be used on tightly closed eyelids but must be rinsed well afterward to avoid eye irritation. If any irritation does develop, rinsing with more water will help get rid of it. If you don’t want to use it on the eyelids, using it on the face will still ensure that you keep the skin around your eyes clean and free of the bacteria that demodex feed on. Hope this helps!

Connee Reau
Connee Reau

February 02, 2018

Wondering how the tea tree oil soap kills the bugs if you can’t use it on your lashes. I have started using the eyelash spray and do love what it has done for my redness so far… will definitely keep using it along with the warm compresses each day. Just wondering how to get the tea tree oil on the lashing without getting it in the eyes??

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