terrifying things

Are Your Eyelash Extensions Giving You Eye Lice?

Photo: stock_colors/Getty Images

In recent years, the eyelash-extension industry has boomed, with experts projecting the market to surpass $1.5 billion in the next few years. It’s not surprising, considering the chances that you know more than one person who has committed to the lash-extension lifestyle is high, if you haven’t done so yourself. But, as with all things that bring us joy, there can come dire consequences. And for the eyelash extensions crowd, that’s lash lice.

Apologies for that chilling phrase that will haunt us for the rest of our lives, but, according to ABC 7 News, optometrists are seeing an increase of eyelash lice, which are also known by the Stranger Things monster-sounding name, Demodex. Apparently people tend to avoid cleaning their lashes (probably to extend their wear-time), which can lead to bacteria city, causing infections and lice. But, as USA Today points out, it may not really be lice living on these people’s lashes, but mites. As if that’s any better!

The difference between the two is that lice are parasites, whereas mites are microscopic organisms that live on all mammals, according to USA Today. Lice are also blood-sucking little monsters while mites eat dead skin cells. (Hello, is that you, exfoliation?) However, bad hygiene can cause a buildup of mites, which can result in itching, swelling, redness, and other types of irritation.

Most likely the risk of lash lice won’t have an effect on those of us who put the prospect of looking like a gorgeous baby deer above everything else. As Callie Beusman, the Cut’s news editor, said when she heard the news, “Let them at me. I don’t care. I want to be beautiful.”

Are Your Eyelash Extensions Giving You Eye Lice?