We all love getting a fresh set of lash extensions – not a lot can compare to the feeling of walking out of the salon knowing your eyes are absolutely popping! But what happens when you get home and start to feel that something’s wrong?
Your eye feels weird, it’s getting red, and the lashes don’t look so great anymore… Could it be an eyelash extension infection? Maybe.
Although it’s not super common, an eyelash glue infection isn’t all that rare either. So, if you feel like you might be suffering from just that, don’t worry. We’re going to cover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options right here.
Let’s get into it.
Eyelash Extension Infection Symptoms
Not all infections are the same, but most of them have these symptoms in common:
- Red or pink eyes,
- Swollen eyelid(s),
- Pain or discomfort,
- Itching or burning,
- Lash line crusting,
- Lashes falling out,
- Blurred vision,
- Excessive tearing,
- Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light).
If you notice any of them during or in the days following a lash appointment, talk to a medical professional to find the cause and the right treatment.
Image source: Instagram @bellalilylashstudio
How Serious Is an Infection from Lash Extensions?
In essence, an eye infection is like any other – it’s not that serious unless you leave it unchecked for too long. That’s why it’s important to do something as soon as you notice any of the symptoms we talked about above.
The first thing you should do is contact a medical professional and your lash tech to check whether what you’re dealing with is really an infection or something else. After that, there are plenty of options in terms of over-the-counter remedies.
But, if that doesn’t seem to work, you should visit an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) who can give you further instructions on how to heal your infection.
Blepharitis and Eye Infection from Eyelash Extensions
Getting blepharitis is probably one of the more serious things that can come from lash extensions. The extensions themselves do not cause this condition, but poor aftercare does, so make sure to closely follow your tech’s aftercare advice.
This condition is an inflammation of the eyelids and can be easily treated if you spot it in time.
If left untreated for too long, it can become chronic and leave you with eye redness and pain for prolonged periods of time.
Again, let us reiterate the importance of acting as soon as you spot the first symptoms.
Click here to learn more about blepharitis.
Types of Lash Extension Infection
In general, when it comes to eye infections, there are 3 main types:
Here’s a bit about each:
Viral Lash Extension Infection
Catching a viral infection at a salon is possible but it’s very unlikely as they usually spread from person to person.
It’s possible to catch viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) at a salon only if the tools the tech uses weren’t sterilized after the last client, but, thankfully, almost no tech would allow a mistake like that to happen.
Fungal Lash Extension Infection
On the other hand, having fungi enter the eye and causing an infection is somewhat more frequent.
This happens when a fungal particle becomes trapped in a damp area, such as the eye, and spreads over time. These infections can be tricky as they can last for weeks or even months and require prescription medication to be treated.
Bacterial Lash Extension Infection
Finally, eyelash extension bacteria are the most common cause of an eye infection.
It also comes from having particles trapped by the adhesive but is easier to treat than fungal infections. Antibiotics may be necessary if your symptoms include discharge, or if you are otherwise immunocompromised.
Otherwise, you should be fine with OTC and at-home treatments.
In any case, it’s best to consult a doctor who will help you determine the cause and point you in the right direction in terms of treatment.
Eyelash Extension Infection Treatment Options
In most cases, and especially if you act fast, all that’s necessary is to apply warm compresses to the infected eye several times a day, combined with over-the-counter meds (like an antibiotic ointment).
If that doesn’t work, you can visit a doctor who will most likely perform a quick procedure that includes popping any growths that may have formed in your eye.
After that, you’ll most likely get prescribed eye drops or antibacterial topical ointments. In some very extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.
Causes of an Eyelash Extension Infection
Getting eye infection from lashes themselves is not possible – it’s bad practices during and after the application that cause issues. Let’s go through the most common causes of infection from lash extensions:
Cause #1: Trapped Impurities
The adhesive that is used during the appointment can trap impurities that would otherwise get removed when you wash your face. Bacteria can develop in this environment and lead to an infection.
For that reason, it’s important to:
a) Wash your face thoroughly before the appointment,
b) Go into it without any makeup on your eyes,
c) Clean them again once you arrive at the salon.
This third step isn’t up to you, obviously, but know that if the tech fails to check whether there is any makeup left on your eyes, there’s a high chance they’ll be negligent about other things too and it might be time to switch salons.
Cause #2: Lash Extension Adhesive
Another possibility is that the eyelash glue gets into your eye.
This again is a result of poor practice at a salon, so be careful when you’re making your choice. The difference between this and the first cause is that you’ll feel the glue getting into your eye and can alert your tech and wash it out to prevent the infection.
In general, if you feel any discomfort or stinging in your eye during a lash appointment, pause it, and ask your tech to rinse immediately – it’s either a possible infection or an allergic reaction.
Cause #3: Poor Aftercare
Finally, your eye can also get infected if you don’t take care of your extensions properly.
If you’re new to extensions, ask your tech about what you should and shouldn’t be doing and ask for some product recommendations to make sure you’re safe.
How to Prevent an Eye Infection from Eyelash Extensions
The best way to prevent an eyelash extension infection is to go to a trusted salon that has experienced technicians working there.
If a place looks a bit dodgy and unsanitary, trust your gut and go elsewhere. But, even at the best salons, accidents may happen. Or, your aftercare routine might not be up to par and you still end up with an infection.
So, if you want to be extra safe, you can clean your eyelashes with a shampoo that helps prevent infections. If your lash tech hasn’t recommended anything, here’s a suggestion:
Some people are more sensitive to infections than others. If you know your eyes are generally sensitive and get infected easily, perhaps lash extensions are not the best idea. It’s a bummer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Cover image source: Freepik