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Thursday 12th December 2019

Eyelash extensions could be riddled with LICE, expert claims

Beauty trend comes with potential health risks

Eyelash extensions users are at risk of lash lice infestations, according to a leading optometrist.

Fans have been warned the popular beauty trend - which involves glueing synthetic or fur eyelashes on top of the natural ones - may have various health risks.

Dr Sairah Malik told ABC7 news that not cleaning eyelash extensions on a regular basis can risk infection... and even lice.

She said: "Generally the idea when you have eyelash extensions is that people are afraid to kind of touch them or wash them because they're afraid the eyelash will fall out."

Eyelash extensions have become increasingly popular in recent years (Credit: Unsplash)

Read more: Sam Faiers in therapy to help stop pulling eyelashes out

She explained that the lice is called Demodex, which - much like head lice - can jump from human to human.

Dr Malik continued: "It's an organism that lives on the hair follicles. It can jump on to anyone, it is just like having head lice."

They burrow to the base of the lash follicles, and they feed off this material.

Demodex symptoms include burning skin sensations and flaky, often red, skin.

However, she says there is a solution, and recommends a tea tree oil cleanser.

The beauty trend risks an outbreak of Demodex, which is essentially lash lice (Credit: Unsplash)

Read more: NHS staff are working 1 million unpaid hours per week

Dr Malik explained: "We recommend tea tree base cleanser. Any cleanser that has a diluted form of tea tree, and it is a good idea to use on a daily basis."

Eyelash extensions are typically applied individually and can cost upwards of £60 per set.

They can last up to six weeks, and there is no need for mascara when wearing them.

Last year a woman told Channel 9 in the US how she had suffered burning and inflamed skin around her eyes after having eyelash extensions applied.

When she visited Dr. Parbhu she was told she was suffering from Demodex.

Dr Parbhu said: "They burrow to the base of the lash follicles, and they feed off this material. Infection can set in if they overpopulate."

And apparently non-extension users are still at risk of the lice. Not removing mascara regularly can also encourage lash lice to spread.

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