EYELASH extensions could be crawling with lash lice as women don’t wash them before use over fears they could fall out.
The growing cause for concern was spotted by optometrists who say they’re seeing an increase in cases of lash lice, known by its medical term, Demodex.
The little-thought about problem has resulted in most women staying away from cleaning them at all.
However the lack of cleaning leads to an increase in bacteria, which harbours more bacteria and leads to infections.
Symptoms include itchiness, redness and inflammation, and what may be even more alarming, the lice.
Lice are organisms that live on the hair follicle, and they can be transferred to anyone.
Dr Sairah Malik told ABC7 the lack of cleaning leads to the bacteria buildup.
She said: “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.
She adds cleaning your eyelids is critical.
“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.”
Eyelash extensions are small, individual lashes that are dipped in glue and bonded to your own eyelashes.
They can take around three hours to apply and usually last between four to six weeks.
That’s a lot of time saved on arduous morning mascara.
Dr Malik recommends using tea tree oil for treatment of hair, skin and nails and can be antibacterial.
Last year, a woman called described how she suffered with swollen, irritated eyes after visiting a salon multiple times for lash extensions.
Ashley visited Dr Parbhu, who revealed that her lashes were infested with Demodex (tiny mites that live in hair).
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She said: “They burrow to the base of the lash follicles, and they feed off this material. Infection can set in if they overpopulate.”
Those who visit salons where staff don’t properly clean their tools are at risk, and people who wear eyelash extensions should use medical-grade cleansers containing tea tree oil, she advises.
Demodex can also form if you don’t remove your eye make-up properly.