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Meet The Mites That Are Probably Living on Your Face

Most people have microscopic mites called demodex living on their faces - yes, you probably do too. There are two types of these tiny creatures that live and can only survive on the skin of humans; Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, the former being the more common and bigger of the two.

(3-D depiction of D. folliculorum)

The mites thrive on parts of the body with high sebum (the yellowish, oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands all over the body to lock in moisture) production, such as the nostrils, cheeks, forehead and eyelids. D. folliculorum live within the hair follicles where they feed on dead skin cells and D. brevis live within sebaceous glands. They are non-parasitic and generally harmless but a large infestation might cause problems such as itchiness, inflammation, redness, and crust around the eyelids, or more specifically a condition called demodicosis.

People with a suppressed immune system, inflammatory acne and skin conditions such as dermatitis are most at risk of an infestation. Treatment usually requires a consultation with a doctor because diagnosis is impossible with the naked eye and for prescription medication that kills the mites. They are most active during the night and will travel - a distance of 8 - 16 mm in an hour - towards the top of the hair follicle at the skin surface to copulate - yes, there are tiny creatures that have sex on your face at night while you sleep. The eggs are laid in the sebaceous glands, inside the hair follicle.

(The mites captured under microscope slide)

The life span of the mites from when they hatch as larvae until adulthood is 14 - 16 days and afterwards they will decompose. Although worm-like in form, they are more closely related to spiders and ticks, with adults having four pair of legs whereas larvae and nymphs have three pairs of legs. Adults measure up to 0.3 - 0.4 mm in length. Despite all the dead skin cellls that they consume, the mites have no anus, so they spend the entirety of their lifetime eating but never excreting. They store their waste in the gut and this is expelled onto the skin when they die.

References:

1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/05/21/725087824/meet-the-mites-that-live-on-your-face

2. https://www.healthline.com/health/demodex-folliculorum

3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321831

Content created and supplied by: Mélloph (via Opera News )

D. Demodex

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