Eyelash monsters: Are they real?

What has eight legs, a mouth like a scorpion and prefers to live in your hair follicles? That is right. It's the dreaded eyelash monster that Mom always warned you about, Demodex folliculorum and D. brevis. Remember when she told you not to share your eye makeup? This is why; these eye and facial creatures swap hosts through facial contact. Want a few more eyelash monsters? Share your eyeliner with a friend. According to Clermont College, 96% of people have them living in their hair follicles.

Here are some interesting facts that are sure to get your skin crawling.

  • Demodex mites burrow into the hair shaft with their feet and teeth and leave their tails hanging out of the follicle. Up to twenty-five may live in one follicle shaft.
  • Too many mites in one follicle can make the lash fall out.
  • Male demodex crawl around the face at night looking for love.
  • These mites belong to the "arachnid" class, the same one as a house spider.
  • Demodex live for approximately 14 days.
  • They have eight legs, a scaly body and tubular rear.
  • The mites look for areas near sebaceous glands including the eyelashes, eyes, nose and cheeks.

Clermont also says, "In most cases, people don't even know they have these mites, but rarely

(perhaps due to a suppressed immune system) the mite population can increase enough to

cause a problem, resulting in a condition known as demodicosis. A different species of

Demodex causes mange in dogs."

Most people never feel or see these tiny face spiders called Demodex. These microscopic creatures carry on their business feeding on sebaceous oils and debris while we sleep, eat and live. To keep their numbers to a minimum, wash your skin regularly with soapy water and toss out old makeup. Never share products and groom your eyebrows and eyelashes with the right tools.