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You have eyelash mites!

May 17, 2013 - Michael Palmer
My son is an entomologist, so he gets paid to feed and breed insects. He sends me a link to an article which I will share with you:

If you are squeamish, turn back now!

Warning: Gross Stuff Ahead, Read at Your Own Risk

Did you know that most people have eyelash mites?

These mites live heads-in in your eyelash follicle, feeding on sebaceous excretion and dead skin cells. They come out to the skin surface at night to mate and return to the follicle to LAY THEIR EGGS! The eggs hatch and *tada!* you got babies and the population of eyelash mites you are host to increases exponentially.

And… here’s what they look like! That’s their heiny you see as their faces are buried into your follicle, feeding away. The big thing is the eyelash.

Demodex folliculorum, or the demodicid, is a tiny mite, less than 0.4 mm long, that lives in your pores and hair follicles, usually on the nose, forehead, cheek, and chin, and often in the roots of your eyelashes. (A follicle is the pore from which a hair grows).

Demodicids have a wormlike appearance, with legs that are mere stumps. People with oily skin, or those who use cosmetics heavily and don't wash thoroughly, have the heaviest infestations ... but most adults carry a few demodicids. Inflammation and infection often result when large numbers of these mites congregate in a single follicle.

An individual female may lay up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, and as the mites grow, they become tightly packed. When mature, the mites leave the follicle, mate, and find a new follicle in which to lay their eggs. The whole cycle takes between 14 to 18 days.

The mites have tiny claws, and needlelike mouthparts for eating skin cells. Their bodies are layered with scales, which help them anchor themselves in the follicle.

And don’t bother scrubbing your eyes out tonight when you shower. Almost nothing gets them out. But washing your closed eyes with baby shampoo helps keep their numbers down.

Experts say that they do no harm except that if too many are in one follicle, that eyelash will come loose and fall out easily. In fact, some say that eyelash mites and you exist in a symbiotic relationship in that they actually eat your waste material, thus cleaning you up. Maybe they’re trying to say that if you didn’t have eyelash mites, you’d have greasy and dandruffy eyelashes.

Also, small comfort: Eyelash mites are so efficient that they eat but do not have excretory exits and thus there is no eyelash mite poop falling into your eyes. (Thank you for that small bit of good news!)

If you think you are safe, you’re not! MOST people have them.

If you use eyeliner and mascara, you most definitely have more of them!

If you don’t wash off your eyeliner and mascara well, you probably already have an infestation.

Thank you for your attention to this public safety announcement. We wish you a peaceful night’s sleep!


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