Nothing is quite as gross as learning simple statistics about gross bugs and their association with human beings.
The eyelash mite, for example, known as the Demodex Folliculitis or Demodex mite, is a parasite that can be found wandering in the hair follicles in facial hair and surprisingly it is common. They are discoverable on millions of different people on the nose, on the cheeks and in the eyelash area, the third place being the most common. Even though you might not know it, it is possible that you have some. Here is how to know for sure and how to get rid of them.
What Are Eyelash Mites (Demodex Mites)
Demodex mites are a unique genus that inhabits the skin, or more specifically, they inhabit the oil glands and hair follicles on the skin. There are dozens of known species and it is likely that they use a variety of different mammals as hosts, including and not limited to canines and humans. These mites can survive off of the consumption of bacteria on the skin. They mate and lay eggs, but thankfully, their overall life cycle is small. Eyelash mites live extremely short lives that their bodies are not even equipped with a proper process or even organ to help in the elimination of waste products. They usually die within two weeks of hatching.
Generally speaking, eyelash mites and their host tend to live together peacefully without any irritation and direct interaction. Even so, when the number of eyelash mites grows, an infestation might start, after which multiple unwanted and really unpleasant side effect might start developing for the host.
Warning Signs of an Eyelash Mite Infestation
While not much is known for certain about eyelash mites, it is thought that they are the cause responsible for rosacea flare-ups and even fungal skin infections such as ringworm. A great deal of skin issues are believed to occur when an excess of eyelash mites exists on the skin, laying too many eggs and leaving behind corpses, thus clogging pores and hindering the skin’s ability to clean itself. While not all of these signs guarantee a Demodex mite infestation is going on, the following can still be a few warning signs:
- Hair loss
- Itching or burning sensations
- Clogged pores, such acne or blackheads
- A rash-like appearance to the skin
- Flushing or swelling skin
How to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites
Treating a Demodex mite infection and preventing any recurrences is an understandable desire. It is good news, then, that there are a number of different natural and homemade remedies that you can use to cure an eyelash mite infestation. Many of them are backed by empirical research and are incredibly easy to do:
- Baby shampoo (for the eyes) – washing our eyes with baby shampoo carefully diluted with an equal amount of water twice per day helps to get rid of the eyelash mites and you can also use a natural shampoo suitable for sensitive skin in order to avoid any skin irritation issues.
- Castor oil – some of the many different health benefits of castor oil are the strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects it contains. It helps to heal skin infections and destroy mite infestations. Carefully apply it to your (makeup-free) eyelids before bed every night. The castor oil is thick, so you only need a small amount and need to apply it gently and carefully into your eyes as it can cause some irritation.
- Tea tree oil (NOT in the eyes) – tea tree oil is one of the most effective natural remedies out there to combat the Demodex mites, but it is important to not place it near the eyes as it can cause serious irritation. Apple the tea tree oil to other parts of your face thought to be infected with Demodex mites, as the survival time for the mites is less than 15 minutes when pure tea tree oil is applied. You can also try to add the tea tree oil to a bottle of shampoo or body wash and cleaning per usual with it.
There are many more essential oils that can help in getting rid of Demodex mites infestation, but these are potentially the most effective. The bottom line is that it is better to be safe than sorry, so if your skin is looking irritated and feeling itchy, try cleansing it with some intentionality.