Lash Lice Are A Thing, So Clean Your Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash Extensions Are Trending, And Unfortunately So Is Lash Lice

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Eyelash extensions are all the rage right now. If you do not have them, then  you know someone who does. They’re relatively low maintenance and can save you from having to wear mascara most days.

But did you know you could get lash lice if you’re not properly caring for your lash extensions?


That’s right, lice aren’t just for your head. Lash lice, also known as demodex, are pretty much exactly like head lice. Except they’re found on your eyelashes. These little buggers make a home on your eyelashes, usually close to the base, and feed off your blood. And here’s the real kicker? Lash lice are more common among those who wear lash extensions, mainly due to lack of proper care.

Many people with eyelash extensions are under the impression that not cleaning your eyelashes will help them last longer. And while that may be true of some things, eyelashes are not one of them.

“Generally the idea when you have eyelash extensions is that people are afraid to kind of touch them or wash them because they’re afraid the eyelash will fall out,” Dr. Sairah Malik tells ABC 7 News.

But let’s be very clear: You should be cleaning them regularly, just like you wash your face. If you don’t cleanse your lashes regularly, you’re basically creating a playground for the lash lice to play on. Dr. Malik recommends using a cleanser with a tea tree as its base. “Any cleanser that has a diluted form of tea tree, and it is a good idea to use on a daily basis,” she explains.

Different doctors, different estheticians, different dermatologists will have varied suggestions, but the important part is finding a gentle cleanser and using it.

We don’t always think about the fact that the area around our eyes gets dirty too. This is especially true if you’re wearing eye makeup regularly. But think about it, many of us touch our eyes several dozen times over the course of a day. Your hands are dirty so if you rub your eyes, you’ll spread oil and all kinds of bacteria across your eyelid. Those bacteria, plus your skin’s natural oils, will make a hospitable home for lash lice.

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Refinery29 recommends using a cotton swab dipped in micellar water as a quick and easy way to keep your lashes clean. Dr. Jennifer Tsai, OD, an optometrist also recommends a cleanser with tea tree.

Now that literally everyone is itching and convinced they have bugs near their eyeballs, how do you know if you truly have lash lice? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

“Symptoms of eyelash lice can include lid irritation, scabbing, redness, itching, tearing, and swelling,” Dr. Tsai explains to R29. And then, there are also the lash lice mites. Oh yeah, there’s usually lice mites on your eyelashes. Having lash lice really and truly is like having head lice. By regularly cleaning your lash extensions, you’re taking away their food source.