People who love using eyelash extensions or wear them often don’t know that eyelash lice or “lash lice” is a real thing.
Also known by their medical term, “Demodex,” lash lice are increasingly more common, according to most optometrists. The main reason seems to be in people’s reluctance to properly clean their eyelash extensions. While we frequently wash our natural eyelashes when we shower or wash our faces, eyelash extensions often go ignored. As a result of that, they often start getting infested with bacteria which can lead to infections.
Symptoms of Eyelash Lice
Symptoms include itchiness, inflammation, and redness. In the more severe cases you should be able to notice even lash lice themselves with a naked eye.
Eyelash lice live in the hair follicles and can be easily transferred, especially in lash salons (1). Dr. Sairah I Malik from Sugar Land, Texas notes that eyelash hygiene is crucial (2):
“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.”
This reluctance of cleaning the eyelash extensions seems to be at the core of the problem. However, careful and safe cleaning of the lashes is easily possible and strongly encouraged.
“We recommend tea tree base cleanser. Any cleanser that has a diluted form of tea tree, and it is a good idea to use on a daily basis,” Dr. Malik explains.
Tea tree oil is an essential treatment for hair, nails, and skin anyway, so it’s perfect for eyelash extensions. Dr. Malik also recommends taking a break from eyelash extensions every now and then.
Lash Extension Aftercare Tips:
- Wait 48 hours before getting the lashes wet
- After, gently clean area around the eyes and lashes daily with a non-oil-based cleanser
- Wipe excess makeup and residue with a lint-free applicator
- Avoid extreme heat and humidity (i.e. – hot showers and saunas)
- Use a covered, retractable soft brush to groom and style eyelashes
- Avoid waterproof mascara and oil-based products used around the eyes
- Schedule an appointment every 3-4 weeks to keep lashes looking full