The eyelash mite (Demodex folliculitis) or Demodex mite is a parasite found in the hair follicles of your face.
It is can be found in the nose, cheeks and most especially the eyelash area hence it’s also called the eyelash mite.
What Are Demodex Mites (Eyelash Mites)
Demodex is a genus of mites that inhabit the skin, specifically in the oil glands and the hair follicles. Dozens of species of demodex mites exist, and they may use a variety of mammals as hosts, including canines and human beings.
The life cycle of these eyelash mites is incredibly short—so short, in fact, that their bodies are not even equipped with organs for eliminating waste products.
Eyelash mites live to eat bacteria from our skin, mate, lay eggs, and then die within two weeks of being hatched. Often, both humans and their four-legged friends can live peaceably with each other; the demodex mites commonly live in and around eyelashes, for example, without causing any irritation at all.
However, when their numbers grow too high and an infestation begins, many unpleasant side effects may be experienced by the host.
What are the Causes of Eyelash Mites?
Lack of hygiene is not the main reason for having mites in eyelashes. However, there might be a connection between eyelash mites and mascara as women who wear a lot of mascara tend to have more demodex mites on their eyelashes. In addition sharing mascara can also transfer the mites between eyelashes.
Going to sleep with your makeup could also be a cause for the increased levels of the eyelash mites.
Warning Signs of Eyelash Mite Infestation
Eyelash mites are thought to be the culprits responsible for causing rosacea flare-ups and bouts of fungal skin infections, such as ringworm.
This happens when an excess of mites are living on the skin, laying too many eggs within oil glands and leaving behind their corpses to cause clogging of the pores, thus hindering the skin’s natural self-sloughing abilities. Thus, Demodex mite (eyelash mite) infestation can manifest in:
- Flushing and swelling of the skin
- Clogged pores (acne and blackheads)
- Rash-like appearance to the infested skin
- Intense itching and burning sensations
- Hair loss
These symptoms can be incredibly uncomfortable to live with—but the good news is, that you don’t have to!
Here is a short video about the eyelash mites (scroll down to find out how to naturally get rid of eyelash mite infestation).
Natural Treatments to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites
There are all-natural treatment options available to treat Demodex mite infestation and prevent future recurrences of infestation, many of which are backed by empirical research. Let’s discuss a few of these home remedies for getting rid of eyelash mites and how to apply them in the event that you or someone in your home develops a Demodex mite infestation.
Baby shampoo – For the Eye Area
The doctors from the video in this article recommend to wash the eyes with a baby shampoo diluted with equal amount of water twice a day in order to get rid of the eyelash mites.
The only issue with baby shampoo is that some of them contain additives that can actually promote skin irritation, so it’s best to use natural shampoo that is suitable for sensitive skin.
Castor oil has many health benefits and one of them is its antimicrobial and anti inflammatory effects. Castor oil can help to kill off skin infections that can cause eyelash loss. For example, Dr. Weil says that eyelash loss can occur because of an eyelid infection or mite infection.
The journal ISRN Pharmacology reported that castor oil contains antimicrobial properties and is useful in treating various skin infections. The report also stated that castor oil seed extracts are useful for hair loss and reducing inflammation.
To apply castor oil to your eyelashes before going to bed, cleanse your face and remove any makeup, mascara, and eyeliner with a gentle makeup remover. Put a small amount of cold pressed organic castor oil on the end of an eyeliner brush. Carefully apply the castor oil to the base of your eyelashes. Remember, that castor oil is fairly thick and you will only need a small amount on each eyelid. You should also avoid getting castor oil into your eye as it can cause irritation. Leave overnight for best results. In the morning, carefully remove the castor oil using a makeup remover. Repeat daily for several days.
Other treatments for demodex mites
Important note – The essential oils featured in the following section should not be used in areas where it can come into contact with the eyes. If your Demodex mite infection is in the eyelid or eyelash area, please do not use essential oils as a topical treatment. They are suitable if the mites affect your face, such as nose or cheeks, but not the eye area.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has been proven to be one of the most effective natural remedies against eyelash mites, with survival time stretching no further than 15 minutes when pure tea tree oil is applied. Tea tree oil is also one of the best remedies for eliminating scabies mites.
To utilize the healing properties of tea tree oil to your benefit (and the Demodex mites’ detriment), add a few drops of tea tree oil to a full bottle of shampoo or liquid soap and cleanse as usual.
If you prefer a method where you don’t have to do any mixing or measuring, many products containing tea tree oil are available online and in stores, such as bar soap (like this one), laundry detergent and hair products. For other uses of tea tree oil, read my article about the 75 extraordinary uses for tea tree oil. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-bookMagical Aromatherapy which will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Camphor oil is another effective means of ridding oneself of eyelash mite infestation. Camphor oil is made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree.
According to a research, treatment of human facial demodicidosis with freshly prepared camphor oil with or without glycerol dilutions gave complete cure with concentrations of 100%, 75% and 50%. Incomplete cure but marked drop in infestation density was achieved with diluted camphor oil at concentrations of 25-20%. Camphor oil application proved to be safe with no side effects.
Oregano oil is one of my 13 powerful antibiotics that don’t require a prescription. Oregano oil can be detrimental to Eyelash mites as well. Because oregano oil is very concentrated, mix a few drops of oregano oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil and apply to the affected area twice a day.
Caraway oil was found by researchers to be just as effective as tea tree oil in eliminating Demodex mite pests. Caraway oil may be used topically on the skin in much the same way as tea tree and oregano oils, where a few drops are added to existing shampoo, soap, or detergents.
Dill oil is made from seeds and other parts of the dill plant and it is highly effective for treating eyelash mite infestation. To treat, put no more than two drops into hair treatment products, facial cleansers, or laundry products and use as normal. Existing mites will slowly die off, and use of the oil will prevent new infestations from taking place.
Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf extract has amazing health benefits. Olive leaf can be purchased as an extract in health stores or online. You can purchase olive leaf extract in a liquid form like this one or as a dried powder in capsules like this one. Always make sure the extract was made from organic olive leaves to make sure it’s pesticide free.
Take the extract as directed, making sure to take a two-day break per five days of treatment. After two weeks, you should see a marked improvement of the afflicted area, with health and clarity returning to the previously infested skin.
Clove oil is one of the best essential oil for eczema. It is an amazing natural home remedy that is useful in treating myriad ailments—and Demodex infestation is no exception. Mix a few drops of clove oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply to the affected area.
Sulfur is another anti-Demodex treatment that some people find very effective. Sulfur can be noxious in large quantities, but one healthy and natural way to utilize its benefits in small quantities is by consuming foods containing sulfur, such as onion, garlic and eggs—particularly the yolks. Another option is to use topical creams that contain sulfur (like this one).