NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eyelash extensions are a huge beauty trend around the country, but doctors are now warning about a major health threat that could be lurking in between those lush lashes — lice.
You likely won’t be able to see them with the naked eye, but the waste left behind around the eye is visible. Doctors say they’re seeing more and more patients being diagnosed with eyelash lice.
Unlike the larger mites or lice typically found in the scalps of young children, these parasites are much smaller.
According to CBS-affiliate WRGB, the same lice that can be found on beds and other furniture can also grow on those false lashes.
“Bacteria sets in and inflammation and eye goes red and inflamed, and with inflammation comes bacteria with a lot of infection, yellowish, greenish mucus,” South Carolina optometrist Dr. Dorothy Park said via WRGB — regarding the glue used in salons to attach the extensions.
Dr. David Samimi, an oculoplastic surgeon with Dignity Health, tells CBS Los Angeles the lice can be transferred to anyone, but are more likely to infest people who have lash extensions.
This is because foreign bodies around the eye like eyelash extensions have a reputation of being very hard to clean. Luckily, this version of lice is reportedly easy to treat.
“Typically patients will clean with tea tree oil, to remove debris in the eyelids,” said Samimi, via CBS Los Angeles. “We can also do deep cleanings in the office.”
The average treatment for eyelash lice takes about six weeks.
To avoid the unnerving infestations in the first place, health experts urge eyelash customers to stick with daily cleaning rituals.