You almost certainly have animals “Demodex“living on your face.
You can't see them, but they're there. They are microscopic mites, eight-legged creatures rather like spiders. Almost every human being has them. They spend their entire lives on our faces, where they eat, mate and finally die.
You should know that these microscopic lodgers probably aren't a serious problem. They may well be almost entirely harmless. What's more, because they are so common they could help reveal our history in unparalleled detail.
There are two species of mite that live on your face: Demodex folliculorum and D. Brevis.
They are arthropods, the group that includes jointed-legged animals such as insects and crabs. Being mites, their closest relatives are spiders and ticks.
Scientists have known that humans carry face mites for a long time
Demodex mites have eight short and stubby legs near their heads. Their bodies are elongated, almost worm-like. Under a microscope, they look as though they're swimming through oil, neither very far, nor very fast.
The two species live in slightly different places. D. folliculorum resides in pores and hair follicles, while D. brevis prefers to settle deeper, in your oily sebaceous glands.
Compared with other parts of your body, your face has larger pores and more numerous sebaceous glands, which may explain why the mites tend to live there. But they have also been found elsewhere, including the genital area and on breasts.
Scientists have known that humans carry face mites for a long time. D. folliculorum was spotted in human earwax in France in 1842.
You may have around two mites per eyelash
In 2014, it became clear just how ubiquitous they are. Megan Thoemmes of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and her colleagues found, as had previous studies that about 14% of people had visible mites. But they also found Demodex DNA on every single face they tested.
That suggests we all have them, and probably in quite large numbers. "It's hard to speculate or quantify but a low population would be maybe in the hundreds," says Thoemmes. "A high mite population would be thousands." Put another way, you may have around two mites per eyelash.
The populations may well vary from person to person, so you might have many more than your neighbor or far fewer. You may also have more mites on one side of your face than the other.
Yet it's not clear what the mites are getting from us. For starters, we're not sure what they eat.
"Some people think they eat the bacteria that are associated with the skin," says Thoemmes. "Some think they eat dead skin cells. Some think they're eating the oil from the sebaceous gland."
They've never been known to eat one another
Thoemmes and her colleagues are currently looking at the microorganisms that live in the mites' guts. That could help determine their diet.
"They've never been known to eat one another," says Thoemmes. "It appears that they come out at night to mate and then go back to their pores."
The only thing we know about is their eggs.
"We have caught a Demodex laying an egg on camera," says.
Female Demodex mites lay their eggs around the rim of the pore they are living in. But they probably don't lay many.
"Their eggs are quite large, a third to a half the size of their body, which would be very metabolically demanding," says Thoemmes. "They're so large they're probably laying one at a time, as I can't imagine that more than one can fit in their bodies based on the size."
Speaking of objects that Demodex needs to push out of their bodies, these mites also don't have anuses.
They still need to poo, so it's been said that they 'explode' with waste at the end of their lives. However, that's "a bit of an over-exaggeration", says Thoemmes.
All their waste builds up over time and then there's one large flush of bacteria.
What causes Demodex folliculorum?
Naturally occurs in human skin. However, the mites can be spread by contact with someone else who has them.
Unlike other types of skin mites, D. folliculorum increases the number of skin cells in the hair follicles. In large amounts, this can create scaly symptoms on the face.
- folliculorum is currently being investigated as a potential cause of rosacea. There’s evidence that these mites can cause flare-ups if you have rosacea. In fact, the National Rosacea Foundation estimates that rosacea patients have up to 18 times more Demodex mites than patients without rosacea.
Who is at risk for getting Demodex folliculorum?
Though D. folliculorum isn’t an uncommon occurrence, you may be at an increased risk for getting these mites if you have
1-A weakened immune system
4-Acne, especially inflammatory types
How is Demodex folliculorum diagnosed?
Since D. folliculorum aren’t visible to the naked eye, you’ll need to see a doctor get a definitive diagnosis. To diagnose these mites, your doctor will scrape a small sample of follicular tissues and oils from your face. A skin biopsy shown under a microscope can determine the presence of these mites on the face.
People who have large amounts of the mites on their faces may be diagnosed with demodicosis. Symptoms of demodicosis include:
1-Scales around the hair follicles
Your doctor can prescribe an oil or cream that can help get rid of the mites as well as their eggs.
- folliculorum can also cause complications with preexisting skin conditions. It may worsen acne outbreaks, rosacea rashes, and dermatitis patches. Controlling the mites may help the outcome of these types of inflammatory skin conditions.
How is Demodex folliculorum treated?
Certain treatments terpene with oil from kessab herbs can help get rid of Demodex
How we prevent them from spreading?
Gently scrub your eyelashes with oil with terpene from kessab herbs. Then apply this oil to kill any eggs left behind. Terpene oil from kessab herbs should get rid of mites and mite eggs.
In most cases, you don’t need to do anything about the mites unless they’re causing symptoms.
What is the outlook for Demodex folliculorum?
The outlook for D. folliculorum depends on the underlying cause. People with inflammatory conditions, such as rosacea and acne, might have recurring mites that aggravate their symptoms. Frequent skin infections can also increase the likelihood that the mites will return.
Most cases also don’t cause any symptoms. Mites live for several weeks and decompose often without notice. In small amounts, D. folliculorum may actually offer benefits, as they can remove excess dead skin cells.
What is even more startling is that while you are asleep at night, these mites emerge out of the pores of your skin, mate and then go back inside. Then they proceed on laying their eggs on your face as well.
All humans have face mites but they only become an issue when they increase in number resulting in a condition called demodicosis. Demodicosis is a very distressing skin condition that may be caused by complications of your immune system and will require a trip to the doctor to treat the problem.
The lifecycle of face mites is quite short and each adult face mite lives no more than 15-24 days on the human skin. This is due to regular cleaning habits but a lack of hygiene or oily glands may cause overpopulation of these mites. Dogs and other wild animals also suffer from this condition and it’s called Demodex Canis.
So have a good skin care regimen that includes you to wash your face at least twice a day (or more if you have oily skin). Get a good medicine soap, not commercial soap which available in the market, cleansing face with medicine soap is made for your skin type and use it daily?