There's Been an Increase in Cases of Lice on False Eyelashes

Symptoms including itching, redness and inflammation.

Health authorities want to alert the community of an increase in lice on false eyelashes, especially eyelash extensions.

Eyelash lice are not the same as lice on one's head. Eyelash lice are also different from eyelash mites - a small, microscopic mite that is very common, and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Eyelash lice are small and living organisms that feed on fat or sebum in the follicles.

"If they have too many, you can see them walking. The lice also may look like sand," said Daysi Martínez of the Lice Clinic of America.

"With mites, hygiene has a lot to do with the issue," said Judy Díaz and Tien Du of Lice Clinic of America.

Because it plays such a large role, specialists are reminding those who get eyelash extensions to practice good hygiene. 

"All people have them -- they are microorganisms, or mites that live on the skin," said Valeria Camacho of the Armando Romo beauty clinic. "They grow there, reproduce and die, but most of us have no consequences. When our defenses go down, these parasites manifest themselves in the follicles where the eyelashes are." 

The lice, or demodex, feeds on sebum in the hair follicles and is very contagious. These small organisms can cause serious complications for eyesight.

Contagious parasites can spread if the person putting on eyelash extensions did not properly disinfect the utensils. The symptoms include itching, redness and inflammation.

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