What Causes Dirty Eyelashes?

Dirty eyelashes are a problem for many people. He if you look closely you can see the deposits at the base of the eyelashes. But also small lumps on the eyelashes that dry up and incrustations are often found in the morning in the corners of the eyelids of the affected.

In this article we will discuss where this dirt on the eyelashes originally comes from and what you can do to remove it. First of all, this dirt or incrustation that accumulates on the eyelashes is usually formed by the Meinbom glands.

These are located inside the eyelid and the gland exits are directly on the edge of the eyelid near the eyelids. If the secretion of these glands is not optimal in composition, it settles at the edge of the eyelid and at the base of the eyelids. Often these encrusted deposits are yellowish if they are more granular or whitish if they are very dry and scaly.

Often the meibomian glands become clogged and the secretion then collects as a small drop at the edge of the eyelid and cools. When it cools down, a small greasy drop is deposited, which gets in contact with the eyelashes due to the closing of the eyelid and is then deposited there. In connection with dried tear film, this is the dirt that accumulates on the eyelashes.

What Is the Crusty Stuff on My Eyelashes?

The encrusted deposits between the eyelashes are dried lipids secreted by the meibomian glands. Only at optimal composition and temperature, the fat of these glands remains an oily transparent film that protects the eye from drying. If the composition is not optimal, this oil film clumps together more quickly and then collects as yellow granules between the eyelashes and in the corners of the eyelids.

The photograph show meibom glands.

Dysfunctions of the meibomian glands, which belong to the producing sebaceous glands, are often genetically determined or due to age. With increasing age, the glandular tissue often decreases. A poorer tear film becomes more likely as a result.

How Do I Get the Gunk off My Eyelashes?

Due to the fact that the deposits on your eyelashes are mostly fat, the easiest way to soften them is to apply a damp warm compress to your closed eyes for 5-10 minutes and then rub them off with a towel. Ordered for this purpose the simple instructions.

For preparation, please wash your hands and have cotton swabs ready.

Use a moist warm compress that should have a temperature of 104°F/40°C to a maximum of 113°F/45°C. This compress is placed on the closed eyes. The heat should then be applied to the eyelids for five to ten minutes. Very slowly, the songs warm up and with them the encrustations and deposits on your eye.

After the eyes have been warmed for a maximum of 10 minutes, you can remove the compress again and begin with the eyelid massage.

The image shows the typical accumulation of little drops on the edge of the eye lid that lead to crusty eyelashes.

When massaging the eyelid, use a cotton swab to massage the eyelid. Close your eyes to do this. You can also roll it along the eyelid. To do this, start about 10mm below the edge of the eyelid on the lower lid and then roll up to the edge of the eyelid. On the upper eyelid, start again 10mm above the edge of the eyelid and then roll down to the edge of the eyelid.

Since you have the glands all over the upper lid and lower lid you should also massage the sides of your lid.

Additional secretion may have leaked out now due to the rolling on the eyelid. You can then remove this with a warm moist towel. Even better are special eyelash shampoos, which you can get from your optician or ophthalmologist. You may need to repeat the process several times to remove all debris from your eyelashes.

How Do You Keep Your Eyelashes From Getting Crusty?

To avoid renewed deposits on the eyelashes, it is important to pay attention to regular eyelid hygiene. For many people, this means warming the eyelids every day, performing an eyelid massage and cleaning the excess secretion with a type of gentle cleanser like baby shampoo.

The effort and how much of this care must be done exactly is very dependent on person to person. For some, incrustations occur only very rarely and it is enough if it is done when needed. But if the accumulation of deposits is quickly visible or noticeable on the eyelashes then daily cleaning or at least several times a week should be scheduled.

If the irritation in your eyes gets worse, you should consult an ophthalmologist. This is because the deposits can also be a sign of blepharitis. Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. The cause is usually a disturbed flow of sebum from the sebaceous glands of the eyelids. The condition is common and results in burning eyes, crusted, reddened eyelid margins and a foreign body sensation. Treatment often includes antibiotic eye and thorough eyelid hygiene.

People who have excessive sebum production (seborrhea) and also suffer from acne, neurodermatitis or rosacea, for example, are particularly susceptible. With excessive sebum production, the sebaceous glands become clogged particularly easily, which is why blepharitis often occurs chronically.

In addition, external stimuli such as dust, wind, cold, heat, smoke, chemicals, cosmetics or contact lenses can also cause clogged sebaceous glands and thus eyelid rim inflammation.

Are Crusty Eyelashes Infectious?

  • Staphylococci colonize the skin and mucous membrane even in healthy people. In the case of a small injury, they can penetrate the eyelid skin and cause inflammation.
  • The herpes virus could also affect the eyelid, and blepharitis may be a result of an infection.
  • Crabs or mites (demodex) can be transmitted from person to person in poor hygienic conditions. The lice and mites adhere to the eyelashes as small granules. The lice themselves suck on the edge of the eyelid between the eyelashes.

But in most cases the causes are not infectious. The eyelid consists of an outer and an inner part. The eyelashes are located at the outer edge of the eyelid, while the sebaceous glands are located on the inside and their secretion is released at the edge of the eyelid. With the tear film, it is distributed on the surface of the eye with each blink so that the eyelid can glide over it without friction.

If the production of sebum exceeds the normal level, the excretory ducts of the eyelid glands become clogged – a scale-like inflammation of the eyelid edge can develop. The excess secretion clogs the eyelashes and forms a greasy coating, which can further clog the glands and cause inflammation in the case of bacterial or viral colonization.

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