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It's True: Eyelash Bugs Are Dining On Your Eye Makeup

You generally cannot see them, but a typical adult has up to 2,000 bugs living on their body at any given time, otherwise known as demodex mites. Yuck, right? Normally, they don't pose a problem. However, if an infestation or overpopulation occurs, beware! These creepy crawlies can wreak havoc on your eye health.

These bugs live on oil glands and hair follicles; this means that their eggs can take up residence in your eyelashes, and live in your makeup or even on your fake eyelashes! Think you have a clean hygiene and beauty routine? Even if you wash your face daily, you are still vulnerable to an infestation. In fact your makeup routine may be incentivizing it. Mites dine on oil, sebum, meibum, and dead skin cells. Yum! That makes the oils in your mascara and eyeliner a tantalizing menu item. Greasy makeup in general is a foodie feast for mites. They hate the light, and hence, are most active in the dark...Eating, seducing, and reproducing!

You can take steps to avoid the aforementioned dinner party at your eyes expense. Dry Eye Diva recommends removing all eye makeup each night. Also, when possible, replace your makeup every 3 months, particularly your mascara, as the dark moist tubes are perfect breeding grounds for these makeup squatters. Try buying minis to save money.



Demodex folliculorum is a microscopic mite found on the skin, as well as within the eyelash follicle. Although not found on newborns, these mites are present soon after birth. Under normal conditions, these demodex mites reside on their host without complication, however these ‘bugs’ can cause damage know as demodicosis. Demodicosis is seen as redness to the face for rosacea sufferers, as well as redness to the eyelid margin. Demodicosis also results in thinning and brittle eyelashes and eyelash loss—additionally causing symptoms of itching, typically near the base of the eyelash. If left untreated, this can spill over to the eye's surface and contribute to dry eye symptoms; eye redness, foreign body sensation and even watering of the eyes. Thankfully, demodex folliculorum is easy to detect. For those with an infestation of mites, during routine examination by an eye care provider, a waxing cuff of debris is seen at the base of the eyelash. Note to eye makeup users: Cosmetic use can obscure the view. An eyelash or two can be removed or epilated by the eye doctor and examined under a microscope to identify the mite. Once identified, treatment is recommended. Don't panic. You can't feel these microscopic mites, nor can you dig them out of the eyelash. Scrubbing the delicate skin around your eyes will only result in more harm than good. Treatment and follow up care will assure that the mite is controlled and the tissue damage and eyelash loss should improve. If you are being treated for Demodex folliculorum, it is recommended that you replace all of your eye makeup.


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