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What Are Demodex Eyelash Mites?
Demodex eyelash mites, also called "eyelash bugs," are tiny eye mites found in or near hair follicles. They are most commonly found on the face and around the eyelashes, and they feed on the dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil there. They're usually about 0.3 mm long, have eight legs, and their body is covered in scales for anchoring into a hair follicle. Feeling itchy yet?!
Infestation is very common, especially in the elderly and immunocompromised people, and usually does not cause symptoms, but eye issues such as ocular surface inflammation and eyelid inflammation can be exacerbated.
There are two types of demodex eyelash mites that live on humans: demodex brevis and demodex folliculorum. These two little buggers feed on oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells around your eyelashes and are a normal part of the hair follicles in humans. However, it is when they become overpopulated that they become an issue.
Demodex eyelash mites are impossible to see with the naked eye and they're constantly laying eggs so it can be tough to get ahead of them once they overpopulate. Demodex can cause symptoms such as redness and swelling of the eyelid margins, crusty eyelashes and lids, blocked meibomian glands, and dry, irritated eyes and eyelids.
Those at risk for problematic eyelash mite infestation include the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, and those with other inflammatory conditions.
If you think you may be suffering from demodex eyelash mites, don't hesitate to visit your eye doctor. Eye doctors (whether an optometrist or ophthalmologist) can pull out an eyelash or two and often view the eyelash mites under a high powered microscope in their office.
On a regular microscope or slit lamp, it can be difficult to see demodex, but we can see the remnants and signs of them. What we see are what we call collarettes around the base of the eyelashes, and this indicates that demodex is living there.
Demodex eyelash mites symptoms will appear along the eyelid margins due to demodex eyelash mites burrowing into the eyelash follicle.
Symptoms of demodex eyelash mites include the following:
The basis of support in the management of Demodex eyelash mites stems around good eyelid hygiene and a prepared tea tree essential oil eyelid cleanser. Below we will discuss different ways to enhance your eyelid hygiene.
We know that tea tree essential oil helps support those with demodex, and an eyelid wipe formulated with tea tree can be a great addition to your routine.
We recommend the MediViz Tea Tree Eyelid Wipes, and they're simple to use. Remove the pre-moistened pad from the pounch and close your eyes. Gently rub the wipe over your closed eyelids in a sweeping motion, concentrating at the base of the eyelashes. Discard the wipe afterward. There's no need to rinse!
To use a tea tree foaming face wash, simply lather the soap between wet hands and apply in circular motions to your wet face, taking care to close the eyes tightly and rinse them well afterward. Tea tree essential oil can burn if it makes direct contact with your eyes, so make sure to rinse thoroughly.
The Heyedrate Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash contains 19 plant based botanicals and extracts.
This is a simple way to support the health of the eyelids. The heat from a warm compress will heat up the compacted oil in your glands and allow the oils to disperse more freely. The mites are less likely to feed on oil that isn't stagnant.
To use a warm compress eye mask, simply microwave the mask on high for 20 seconds, test the temperature on the inside of your wrist, and then place over your closed eyelids for 15-20 minutes. Sit back and relax! You'll want to do this twice per day for maintenance. We recommend the MediViz Warm Compress Eye Mask with Removable Cover for ease of use.
Note that if you suffer from an inflammatory skin condition as well, the heat from a warm eye mask may actually make your eyelids feel worse. If this is you, don't hesitate to discontinue this step or only use it a few times per week.
If you suffer from eyelid inflammation, cleaning the lids and lashes with an effective eyelid cleanser is the best way to support your eyelid and eye health. Hypochorous acid is naturally made by the body and is a great addition to your cleansing routine.
To use our Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser, make sure you have followed the other steps above and then simply spray the cleanser onto a cotton ball or round before applying to your closed eyelids. No need to rinse!
The Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleansercontains just 3 ingredients:
Hypochlorous Acid, Electrolyzed Water, and Sodium Chloride
Makeup can give you confidence, but the leftovers can harbor bacteria that can lead to further issues with demodex. Do you ever go to bed with makeup on? If you answered yes, you need to rethink your eyelid hygiene routine (you can check out Dr. Jenna's routine here).
We like recommending an oil based makeup remover that contains tea tree essential oil because the oil will dissolve all of your makeup (even the waterproof kind!) Check out the Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover Oil on Amazon.It only contains four ingredients: organic grapeseed oil, organic jojoba oil, vitamin E, and tea tree essential oil.
To use, simply place 3-5 drops of the oil onto a cotton ball or round and massage into your closed eyelids, concentrating on the eyelash area. Heyedrate's eye makeup remover oil can even double as a moisturizer all over your face after you've washed it! And if you're not big on using an oil based remover, use our MediViz Tea Tree Wipes to remove your makeup instead.
When you know you've got an issue with demodex, it's imperative that you clean your towels and sheet regularly. We recommend washing sheets at least once per week and changing out your towels every few days (if not more often).
When washing your sheets and towels, wash in hot water and dry warm or hot as well. We recommend washing with Eco Nuts and using organic wool balls for drying instead of dryer sheets. These two products will help decrease the chemicals in your laundry!
Since demodex eyelash mites can be spread from person to person by contact, mascara can transplant them from one person to the next. AVOID sharing mascara with one another and also throw away your mascara after 3 months of use.
When you're dealing with this problem, your eyes can be so irritated and inflamed that you're not sure what to do. By following the simple steps above, you can quickly get back to normal life.
However, if you notice there is no improvement in your symptoms, then go see your local eye care practitioner. They're your best source of information!
AMAZON AFFILIATE INFORMATION
We, Eye Love, LLC, are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. MediViz and Heyedrate branded products are made by our company, Eye Love, but we truly believe that our products are the best on the market! It is important to know that our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.