Facts to Know About Eyelash Mites
You might not have been aware of it, but there are tiny mites that live in your hair follicles and pores, often referred to as eyelash mites. These mites are minuscule and are less than 0.4mm long, and officially go by the name of demodex folliculorum. Although they can live on your forehead, in your cheek, and on your nose, they are commonly found in the roots of your eyelashes, hence their common name.
Worm-like in appearance, eyelash mites live head-down in a follicle. They feed on dead skin debris and secretions that are created by your skin. A female has the ability to lay up to 25 eggs in one follicle. As the mites grow larger, they become packed together tightly and when they get older they leave and find a new follicle to call home. They even find mates on their own in order to reproduce. The entire life cycle of a mite is around 15 days.
Even though the eyelash mites are not dangerous and do not carry any types of diseases, an infestation could cause skin irritations and a disorder called Demodicosis or Demodex mite bite. This is usually typified by itching and other disorders. Demodex mites can also cause blepharitis which is inflammation of the eyelids. You might notice that your eyelid becomes red and swollen and upon close inspection can find no noticeable cause of this. If this happens, it could be due to mites. Due to the bacteria found in the mites, there is also some indication that the mites can cause some form of rosacea as well.
The mites have bodies that are covered in scales which allow them to attach themselves to the follicle that they live in. Their bodies are semi-transparent and consist of two segments fused together. They have 8 short legs attached to the first segment and pin-like mouths for eating. They have very little waste and lack an excretory opening as well, so the odds of any mite excrement getting into your skin are non-existent. For the most part, the mites like to come out at night and avoid the daylight. Although they are very tiny, they can be seen by removing an eyelash or piece of hair from the eyebrow and putting it under a microscope.
The majority of adults have a few eyelash mites on their faces. Individuals who have skin that is very oily, or who wear heavy cosmetics and don’t wash their faces completely, generally have the worst infestations. People with immune disorders, or who suffer from a lot of stress, also tend to have higher numbers than those who do not. An inflammation can develop with a group of mites get together in a hair follicle. Sometimes, an infestation can cause an eyelash to fall out without difficulty.
Older people are also more likely to carry eyelash mites than younger people. Children are the least likely to carry mites, more than likely due to the fact that they do not produce as much sebum as adults.
The mites can be transferred from person to person through contact of the sebaceous glands on the nose, as well as through the contact or eyebrows and hair. Of course, individuals would have to be in very close contact in order for this to occur. There are also some animal species, namely dogs, that can carry mites as well.
Antiparisitic drugs can be used to treat eyelash mites. Addressing any underlying immune problems might also help in getting rid of diseases that could encourage the growth of the mites. If a bacterial infection exists, then a physician might recommend using an antibiotic.