As it turns out, there is one seriously unfabulous thing about makeover parties: Eyelash Mites.

It is estimated that about 50% of us have eyelash mites. They are spread by casual contact, so mascara can transplant them from one person to the next with ease. And of course, even just a few mites can lead to an infestation. This is rather unfortunate, as many individuals share makeup and various cosmetic items.

However, you shouldn’t be too freaked out, or even really freaked out at all. Most people don’t have any adverse reactions to them; the most common symptom is dry, itchy eyes.

However, to be clear, in some individuals, these mites cause a somewhat serious allergic reaction. Although not life-threatening, the eyelash mites can cause a significant increase in rosacea, pimple-like blemishes, and similar skin issues. If you suddenly have a flare up like this, please speak to a doctor about a possible allergic reaction and antiparasitic treatments.

But we can treat them. That is the main thing.

Of course, that doesn’t really make one feel all that better about their mating habits. You see, when this type of mite reproduces, the female burrows down into a hair follicle or pore in order to lay her eggs. Often, the female lays as many as two dozen eggs inside one follicle.

With over 200 lashes on your eyes, that’s more than 4,500 eggs. Which is a lot of mites.

From here, the eyelash mites grow inside the follicle, and once they reach maturity, they move to the surface of your skin and mate with other eyelash mites. Eventually, they die and the cycle continues. In short, the mites are mating and reproducing on your face, which may not be such a fun thought for you.

Image via Joel Millson WikiMedia

What’s the plus side of all of this? Fortunately, mites don’t defecate on your face. In fact, they don’t poop at all. The mite has no anus, so it stores its waste in large cells within its gut. Unfortunately, when the mite dies, its body disintegrates and the waste is released…on your face. So although they don’t actually defecate on your face, their bowel movements end up there anyways.

The fact that these mites can live on your face without you noticing is a little surprising, as they are covered with scales to help themselves attached to the eyelash, and they have a sharp mouth that they use to eat the dead skin cells and hair follicles on the eyelash. But their scaly bodies and pointed mouths are tiny—really tiny. The adult mites are only about .4 mm long. So you will probably never even notice that they are there.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. An epic of life and death is playing out right in front of your eyes…and you can’t even see it.


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