Every person has at one point felt a discomforting itchiness in their eyelashes, particularly after waking up. This could be due to grogginess and the presence of fluids in the eyes, but it could also mean something more disturbing.
A likely culprit for this itchiness could be find in the Demodex mites that are living in the facial hair follicles, and are usually not something to worry about.
However, if allowed, they can spin out of control and pose a bigger problem for some people. These mites can grow anywhere on the face where there’s hair, especially around the eyelashes, hence the name eyelash mites.
What Exactly Are These Demodex Mites?
Demodex mites are basically a group of parasites that irritate the skin, especially the facial skin, and there are around 65 types, of which the Demodex folliculorum is the most common to affect the skin around your eyelashes.
These parasites develop in mammals from dogs and cats to monkeys and humans. Like all parasites, they do not have the required cells, tissues, and organs to perform key life functions which is why they have a short lifespan of about two weeks.
But in these two weeks, the mites will survive by eating both the useful and harmful bacteria on a person’s skin and, even more disturbing, will likely lay eggs before they die.
When in small numbers, eyelash mites do not pose a big problem, but once they start to reproduce they can be quite a nuisance.
What Are the Causes of Eyelash Mites?
One of the many reasons for the thriving of Demodex mites is the lack of proper hygiene, which allows the mites to reproduce by the hundreds. Many people avoid cleaning the eyelashes when showering, allowing the mites to reproduce without any hindrance.
People who wear mascara ought also to be careful as when the mascara is not washed properly or left on the lashes for a long time it makes an ideal place for a number of germs, particularly mites, to multiply.
Also, for the ladies, try not to share your mascara brush with other women as this is also a way to catch eyelash mites.
Moreover, if you are a pat lover and are used to the genial presence of cats and dogs in your home, you could also be at risk of catching mites as dogs and cats are perfect breeding grounds not only for fleas and ticks, but mites as well.
Symptoms of Eyelash Mite Infestation
Skin irritations like rosacea is also believed to be caused by eyelash mites. This is an inflammatory skin condition whose symptoms are redness and visibility of blood vessels on your face.
Some of the other symptoms of eyelash mites include:
- Incessant itchiness in the eyelashes and the skin around it.
- Inflammation in the skin surrounding the lashes
- Alopecia in the eyelashes
- Swollen skin beneath the eyes
- Rough skin appearing on the face.
Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Demodex Mites
Luckily, there are a few treatments for the unbearable and irksome Demodex mites. These treatments also make the skin around your eyelashes inhabitable for the mites. Below are several of these remedies.
Baby shampoo helps get rid of these parasites in the eyelashes when they are still in small numbers, but always remember to keep your eyes closed when rinsing your eyelashes with the baby shampoo water.
Probably the only downside to using baby shampoo is that it can cause inflammation to the skin around the eyes if it was already sore from itching. Baby shampoo is not recommended for people who have a sensitive skin.
Castor oil is extracted from castor beans and it is an excellent anti-inflammatory remedy which softens the skin and is great at cleansing the skin around your eyelashes from Demodex mites. It is also a great treatment for alopecia.
To use castor oil against mites, first properly clean your face, eyelashes, and eyelids with a little soap foam and an exfoliating sponge.
Then wipe your face with a clean towel and put 100% organic castor oil on the eyelashes, particularly the bases since it’s there the mites grow and develop most.