If you have pets you might be familiar with ear mites but have you ever heard of humans having eye mites? That’s right, millions of people have tiny relatives of the spider partying on their eyelashes and eyelids and don’t even know it. Gross right?
What are eyelash mites?
Eyelash mites, also known as Demodex folliculorum, are a type of microscopic mite that live in hair follicles on the face and the eye area. These mites are relatives to ticks, spiders and scorpions. They are shaped like a sausage with chubby legs on the front third of their body.
Yes, they have sex on your face
These creatures eat bacteria, fungi, oil, and dead skin cells and are most active when we are asleep. They often crawl across our face where they eat and reproduce. After they reproduce, the female buries into a hair follicle or sebaceous gland. She lays the eggs here and in two days they hatch. It takes baby mites about six days to reach adulthood, and they live for about five days after this.
Although Demodex mites are common, they increase in numbers with age. Demodex infestation is present in 84% of the population at age 60 and 100% at age 70.
Signs that you have an eye might infestation
Mites can actually be helpful when present in small numbers. However, when their population grows out of control, this can lead to inflammation and infection. Here are some signs that you might have too many mites taking up residence on your eyelids and lashes:
- Itchy eyelids and lashes
- Loss of eyelashes
- Increased incidence of acne
- Redness around eyelid
- Blurry vision
- Feeling like you have a foreign body in your eye
Natural remedies for mite infestation
Luckily, there are a number of natural ways to reduce the numbers of mites on your eyelids to a manageable level. Here are some that you can try.
Stop using eye makeup – It is thought that using mascara and other eye makeup can make you more prone to an eye mite outbreak. If you have symptoms of mites, try stopping all eye makeup. Throw away all old makeup and if you start wearing eye makeup again, purchase high-quality organic products only.
Wash your face and eyelids daily – There is no greater deterrent to eye mites than a polished hygiene routine. Keep your face clean and don’t forget to wash your eyelids. You can use a gentle soap and gently scrub the top of your lids and eyelashes daily to keep them clean.
Get rid of your old pillowcases and sheets – To reduce the risk of reinfestation, it is best to throw away your sheets and pillowcases and get new ones. If you can’t do that, wash your old ones in very hot water and a little bit of bleach.
Check your pets – If you have pets, be sure to have them checked for mites by your veterinarian.
Oregano oil – Oregano oil is loaded with antibacterial properties and can help boost your immune system and allow your body to fight against any infestations. Take oregano oil orally daily.
Warm compress – Apply a warm compress to your eye area a few times a day. This will help ease inflammation, redness, and itching. Be sure to use only a clean, organic cotton cloth for this remedy.
Macadamia nut and tee tree oil – Macadamia nut oil has the perfect balance of fatty acids and is hydrating and moisturizing. Tea tree oil has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. For this powerful remedy, combine half macadamia nut oil and half tea tree oil. Gently exfoliate eyelids and lashes with a clean cloth. Apply the oil mixture to lashes, eyelids, and eyebrows. Be careful not to get in your eyes.
Tea tree shampoo – Dilute some tea tree shampoo with water and lather. Apply to your lash area, being careful to avoid your eyes. Rinse with warm water and repeat a few times a day as needed to relieve symptoms.
Organic coconut oil – Coconut oil is loaded with antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Use a clean cotton pad and apply coconut oil to your lids and eyelash area. Allow the coconut oil to set for about twenty minutes and remove. Repeat several times a day.
Tea bags – Reduce inflammation and pain by placing cooled tea bag on your eyes. Chamomile tea, in particular, has soothing properties that can bring much relief to sore eyes. Steep tea bags in boiling water and allow them to cool. Let the tea bags rest on your eyes for about twenty minutes and remove.
Potato slices – Although it may seem strange to put potatoes on your eyes they really do reduce inflammation and pain, especially if you are suffering from blepharitis. Wash an organic potato thoroughly and slice into modest slices. Place slices over your eyes for at least twenty minutes. Do this several times a day.
Baking soda – Baking soda has antibacterial properties and can reduce inflammation. Mix a little baking soda with water and apply to your eyelids and lashes using a cotton pad. Rinse with warm water.
Other things you can do
- Take a hot shower daily – Close your eyes and allow the water to flow over your face.
Don’t itch or rub your eyes – Try not to itch your eyes, this will make matters worse.
Keep your hands clean
– Good hygiene goes a long ways towards keeping a mite infestation at bay.
Drink water – Stay hydrated so that your immune system will function properly.
Increase vitamin C and Zinc – Be sure that you are getting enough vitamin C and Zinc in your diet. Eat plenty of foods with vitamin C and Zinc to boost your immune system.
-The Alternative Daily