We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but here it goes: Your eyelashes are probably covered in parasitic mites.
Your face can play host to two species of microscopic mites: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. These mites live in hair follicles, feasting on your body’s oily secretions.
It’s unclear how many people host Demodex mites, but research suggests that they become increasingly common as we age. Demodex mites rarely appear on babies, but samples of teens and adults have shown 70 to 100 percent occurrence of Demodex.
Before you pluck out each eyelash one by one, know that these mites likely won’t do you any harm. Demodex can eat, crawl around and reproduce on your face for years without causing any problems. However, when they build up in your lashes, they can cause eye irritation and inflammation. Demodex mites have also been linked to rosacea.
Many of us who have Demodex will never have an issue with these creepy-crawlies. But if you are diagnosed with an eyelash mite infestation, there are a few simple steps you can take. Use tea tree oil wipes to clean your eyelids and have your doctor clean the area as well.
As for the rest of us? We’ll just try not to lay awake at night thinking of the microscopic parasites crawling all over our faces.
Easier said than done.