Gross warning over beauty trend
Opting for increasingly popular eyelash extensions could leave you with a nasty case of mites crawling around your eyes, according to new warnings from health experts.
The growing concerns have been voiced by optometrists who say they're seeing an increase in cases of the mites, sometimes referred to as "eyelash lice", known by the medical term, Demodex.
The little-thought about problem has resulted in most women staying away from cleaning their eyelash extensions.
However, a lack of cleaning the strands leads to an increase in bacteria, which harbours more bacteria and leads to infections and other nasty side effects.
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.
Symptoms can include itchiness, redness and inflammation, and what may be even more alarming mites.
Demodex are organisms that live on the hair follicles, and they can be transferred to anyone.
Dr Sairah Malik told ABC7 the lack of cleaning leads to a build-up of bacteria.
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 said 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."
Dr Malik recommends using Tea Tree oil for treatment of hair, skin and nails and can be antibacterial.
Last year, a woman called Ashley 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.
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 advised.
Demodex can also form if you don't remove your eye make-up properly.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission