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Potential Health Hazards of Eyelash Extensions

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

eyelash lice

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  • Eyelash extensions, individually bonded with glue to existing eyelashes, can invite mites called Demodex to set up residence in your eyelashes
  • Demodex, aka eyelash lice, can cause redness, inflammation, blood shot eyes and blocked oil glands, and can contribute to conditions like blepharitis, blepharoconjunctivitis and blepharokeratitis
  • Demodex can be confused with blepharitis, but the treatments are completely different and, unlike blepharitis, Demodex can spread to others
  • Demodex is often explained by lack of hygiene since eyelash extension wearers sometimes keep them on for weeks, fearing that washing will cause the lashes to fall out
  • To treat a Demodex buildup medical professionals recommend tea tree oil, which patients can use at home

In the past few years, eyelash extensions have become very popular, especially among young women. The extensions, attached by a professional at a salon, are glued individually to existing eyelashes in a process that can take three hours and cost up to $400.

The glue is made with butyl cyanoacrylate and octyl cyanoacrylate, although some glues may contain formaldehyde — which can potentially cause great irritation and other eye problems.


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