Almost everyone hosts eyelash mites. You may unknowingly have them on your scalp, face eyelids. They’re are also found on pets especially dogs and cats. Read on to find out what these tiny creatures are, pictures of what they look like, causes and symptoms, how to get rid of them using home remedies such tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar plus more treatment options.
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What Eyelash Mites are + Life-cycle ?
Eyelash mites are minute parasites that live in or near hair follicles of mammals; human beings, dogs, cats etc.
Scientifically, these mites are collectively called demodex. It thought there are around about 65 species of Demodex. Demodex folliculorum and demodex brevis are the types commonly found on human beings.
D. folliculorum lives within the hair follicles on human skin, feeding on dead skin cells on the face around the eyes, especially the lids and lashes. Unlike D. folliculorum, D. brevis is naturally occurring and they feed off sebum in the oil glands which are attached to hair follicles below the the skin’s surface.
Demodex canis, commonly known as mange, is the species that is found on dogs or canines. Two species of demodex mites can be found on kitties: Demodex cati and Demodex gatoi. Demodex catiis typically found within the hair follicles, while D. gatoi is more likely to live on the surface of the skin.
Research shows that approximately 80% of the American population have these parasites on their eyelashes and that they develop within the older age. They increase in number with decrease of body immunity.
They undergo internal fertilization and multiply slowly. They do not have adverse effects on both human beings and pets. They may have effects when they multiply in extremely large numbers, a condition known as demodicosis which may cause the eyelash to fall off.
Demodex Mites Life Cycle
Demodex folliculorum full cycle takes about three weeks. The mites are light phobic, thus they feed during the day in the follicles. Their survival depends on dead skin cells and oil released in the skin. At night they come out of the follicles, mate and later lay eggs in the follicles.
The eggs take a short time to hatch. You would not feel any form of irritation in the eyes regardless of what stage they are at. Since they can lay tens of eggs in a single hair follicle, after hatching they soon become tightly packed due to the numbers then develop into larvae.
The larva soon develops into an adult. The cycle from egg to adult takes approximately a week. Afterwards they are able to reproduce.
Does everyone have eyelash mites?
A research done in the United States shows that everyone has a trace of demodex in their eyes and it is possible there could be a symbiotic relationship between them and humans. New born babies have not so far been detected to have them.
The numbers shoot when you are in the adolescent age because your body releases more sebaceous oil due to hormonal changes. However, if you experience irritation and itching on the eyelash follicles, you are advised to seek medical attention.
Pictures How Demodex Mites look like
Following more about the visibility and pics of these mites
Can you see eyelash mites?
Eyelash mites cannot be seen by the naked eye, unless under microscopic observation. They have an approximate length of 0.15mm and can just walk around the surface of your skin without you seeing them.
Eyelash mites pictures
Causes- Humans and Pets
How do demodex mites come about in human and pets? Where do they come from.
How do Humans get eyelash mites
Masacara and Eye makeup
One of the most popular cause of eyelash mites is too much makeup. Women who wear who cannot survive without mascara are more prone to these mites. Though it is not very clear why this is the case, some think that this eyelash cosmetic procedure provides a friendly environment for the to thrive in.
Your skin type
If your skin naturally produces a lot of oil then chances of hosting these microscopic mites are high. Individuals with dry or not oily skin hardly attract these eyelash mites.
Aging individuals are more prone to these mites. As mentioned earlier, babies are hardly infested with eyelash mites.
Immune system-If your immune system is weakened or compromised, you are likely to be more prone to the mites.
Hygiene- Though some scientists claim that there is no link between poor hygiene and eyelash mites, there is evidence that freeing yourself of dirt especially in the face area before going to bed can help.
Causes in Pets
The causes include;
Immature immune system
Demodex gatoi is contagious thus it will spread to other cats
Signs- how to know if you/ your Pets have Demodex Mites
Acne & Rosacea on Face
Acne and rosacea are among the symptoms that let you know that you have eyelash mites
Rosacea is a condition that may be caused by mite faeces in your pores. The inflammation is caused by a kind of bacteria that is related to the mites, causing scientists to claim that they are responsible for the condition.
Acne is blamed on demodex mites because they occur in a concurring graph. Most adolescents have acne on their skin and this is also the time when the mites are highest in population..
How are demodex mites linked to hair and scalp problems?
Demodex Folliculorum are responsible for loss of eyelashes and facial hair. Demodex mites make hair to fall out when they infest in large numbers.. One follicle can house up to 30 mites. When they keep on reproducing in large numbers, they cause hair to fall out of the follicles thus causing hair loss.
More signs of an infestation include;
- Skin Irritation
- Possible skin issues
When the eyelash mites are in extremely high number then your said to have condition called demodicosis.
This condition is usually accompanied by
- Swelling and erythema of the eyelid margin
- Presence of scales at the base of the eyelashes.
- Eyelashes stuck together
- Plaque on the edge of the eyelids
Signs: Dogs and Cats
In pets, signs will depend on the form of demodex. The first form shows signs in one area(localized), the second form affects only pet feet while the third affects any part of the body.
General signs include;
- Hair fall
- Development of bald spots
- Rough & dry Skin
- Bald patches
How to use Tea Tree Oil to get rid of Eyelash Mites
Tea tree oil is thee oil that is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. It is mostly pale yellow and sometimes colorless depending on the quality. When consumed orally, it is toxic. However, it is added in cosmetics and body washes in negligible amounts.
It has been used for various medical reasons because of its antiseptic properties. It has been confirmed to get rid of different strains of fungi and bacteria. It works best in very high concentrations.
When using it as a remedy, one is advised to dilute it because high concentrations irritate the eyes, thus users are advised to use low concentrations of tea tree oil but as regular as possible to intensely get rid of the mites. According to one study, wiping the eyelids daily with a dilute solution of tea tree reduces mites by a high percentage and using higher concentration kills
Using tea tree oil is one of the most efficient ways to deal with eyelash mites.
- Mix tea tree oil with a different kind of oil, preferably nut oil because it could irritate your follicles if used alone.
- Rub the dilute tea tree oil on the eyelashes and eyelids but be careful so that it does not enter the eye.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Repeat this process at least twice daily, especially in the evening before you go to sleep.
- After rinsing you are advised to use cream that contains a small percentage of tea tree oil.
- Use tea tree oil shampoo daily, not only for treatment of demodex mites but also for preventive measures.
If you use eye makeup on a daily basis, especially mascara, you are advised to wash it off daily using tea tree oil. It prevents breeding of the mites, thus hindering their multiplication on your eyelashes.
How to get rid with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is vinegar that is made of cider or apples. It is amber in color and can be used in salads and marinades. However, consumption of high amounts may cause mouth sores. It has been proved to be a successful remedy of demodex mites. You can either prepare it at home or buy the one that is already made from the stores.
When well fermented, apple cider vinegar is well known for its properties to fight bacterial infections. It is also develops anti-fungal agents which help with skin infections. This is because of the bacteria introduced by adding sugar during the preparation. It also has no adverse effects and can be used on a daily basis.
The following is a procedure to prepare apple cider vinegar at home.
- Chop full apples into medium sizes and place them in a jar. Alternatively, you may use apple peels and scraps if you have been preserving them. Also ensure that the jar you use is clean and that the apples are washed so as to avoid introducing more bacteria other than the naturally occurring one.
- Mix sugar and water separately. The amount of sugar can be one to three teaspoons depending on the size of your jar.
- Pour the sugared water onto the apple scraps and ensure that they are fully submerged. The purpose of sugar is to introduce bacteria. However, most of it is fermented out and should not worry those that are keeping low on sugar.
- Cover with a cheesecloth and keep it air tight using a rubber band.
- Store in a dark place that has a constant room temperature and keep it there for three weeks. You may check from time to time to ensure that no apple scraps are above the water level to prevent formation of molds. After that it will develop a sweet aroma.
- Drain out the potato scraps and return it to a dark place for another three weeks until it gets tart enough.
- Afterwards, transfer it to a different jar and it can be readily used in the kitchen or for remedies for parasites such as eyelash mites.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar on Eyelash Mites
- Add a generous amount of apple cider vinegar to bath water every day to manage the reproduction of the mites on your follicles.
- For adverse cases, use apple cider vinegar to cleanse the skin, especially the areas around the eyelashes.
- When you use apple cider vinegar to cleanse your skin and scalp there is a high possibility of keeping the mites away and improving your general health.
Other Home Remedies
Use of borax powder
The use of Borax powder helps to get rid of not only demodex mites but other parasites as well. It is a fungicide and also contains anti-microbial agents because of the heavy metal it has as one of its components. It should only be used on surfaces such as carpets, mats, rags and seats
Sprinkle the powder on all possible surfaces in the house, then after few minutes vacuum thoroughly. A faster way of dealing with demodex mites using borax powder is by adding sprinkles to the bathing water. However, you should be careful that it does not get into direct contact with the eyes. It can be used to cleanse the scalp and the areas around the eyes as a remedy for the eyelash mites.
Coconut oil is one of the safest remedy for demodex mites, whether consumed externally or internally. It has saturated fats like Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Caproic Acid, and Myristic Acid which enable it to be antioxidant. These are also the reasons why it is used as anti-ageing substance.
Rub a good amount of coconut oil on your face and on the eyelids around the eyelash area. Give it time to act on the parasites, then rinse thoroughly with exfoliating wash or borax solution. Coconut oil can also be consumed orally so as to strengthen your immune system and help fight the mites from inside. It can also be taken as an anti-fungal remedy.
Neem oil is a harmless external remedy for demodex mites and it does not have any adverse effects on the eyes. It is used because of its antiseptic properties especially for the skin. You can apply neem oil on the face and skin generally. It is important to emphasize on the regions around the eyes to ensure that the oil comes to contact with their eggs. You can sleep with the oil still on your skin and rinse thoroughly the morning after.
Maintain cleanliness on infested items
Once you realize that your eyelashes have been infested by mites, you may not get rid of them overnight. Instead, you can work on reducing their numbers regularly. This could be by washing materials such as pillows and other bedding. This will reduce the rate of reproduction and prevent you from getting any adverse side effects.
It is used like all other external remedies, whereby you can use it to wash surfaces or add it to bathing water. Scientists say it has a burning effect on bacteria and fungi, thus used for sanitization and cleansing. Its properties make it fit for use on demodex mites.
How to Kill the Mites Naturally
Natural methods of eliminating demodex mites include using baby shampoo and daily application of castor oil. Consistent skin exfoliation is also a way of controlling the mites. There are no complicated natural remedies for killing demodex mites but you are supposed to ensure that their number is limited and it does not reach to a point where they are responsible for eye illnesses.
Most of the expert methods to eliminate demodicosis have not been approved for use. However, those that have been approved have worked with up to 70% efficiency. The mites can be attracted to come out of the follicles to the surface of the eye using volatile liquids.
One such liquid is ether though it is not allowed in other regions. In states where it is illegal, other volatile liquids can be used. Ether is thoroughly brushed on the eyelid margin and a small percentage of proparacaine instilled. Afterwards a solution containing about 70% alcohol is applied.
During the process, the practitioner carrying out the procedure on you should ensure that the solutions do not come in contact with the cornea. The procedure reduces the mites by a huge percentage and manages the symptoms.
The immediate way of dealing with mite bites is by application of natural oils that are known to suppress the effects. Also, avoid scratching or your skin will swell or cause irritation. Besides application of oils, you may use exfoliating wash on skin and medicated shampoo on hair.
Sources & References