Let’s get this out of the way first: Demodex mites are not inherently gross. They’re just small arachnids with no venomous bite; they won’t crawl into your eyes and leave you blind, and they’re certainly not going to give you a new disease (or old one) like demodicosis. But, in all honesty, that doesn’t make them any less creepy. So, what exactly is demodicosis? It’s a skin condition caused by an excess of the aforementioned mite species called ‘demodex’ — which sounds suspiciously similar to something out of Harry Potter — on your face. Read on to learn about these creepy little things.
What Are Demodex Mites?
The life cycle of the common demodex mite is pretty short; it only takes one week for a newborn to develop into a fully grown adult. You may have heard of different species of mites, but demodex is by far the most common. There are two different types of demodex mites — the head-dweller or “eyelash” mite, and the “eyebrow” mite. Demodex mites are tiny parasites that live in your hair follicles and feed on your sebum and skin cells. They’re present in everyone’s skin, but in low enough numbers that they don’t cause any issues. For those with an excess of mites, symptoms like skin irritation, pustules, and redness can occur. And, since the mites are so tiny, they’re practically impossible to spot in the mirror.
Why Do You Have So Many Demodex Mites?
While there are most likely many reasons for an excessive amount of demodex mites, the most likely culprit is poor skincare routine. We know that genetics play a role in developing demodicosis, but the most common cause of the condition is neglect. People with an abundance of demodex mites often have a poor daily skincare routine. This may include infrequent washing of the face, only washing with soap, failing to exfoliate, or leaving a loofah in the shower. While a loofah will exfoliate your back just fine, it’s too rough for your face.
Now that we know that these mites are all part of the skin's ecosystem, we need to remember not to neglect it. Remember to stick with your skincare routine and these little Demodex mites will remain happy therefore the skin's natural ecosystem will stay aligned.