Do Your Skin and Eyelashes Really Have Mites Living on Them?
Mites are some of the most diverse, abundant, and oldest organisms on our planet. Although characterized as arachnids, mites are typically much smaller than most spiders. Some giant mites, like ticks and velvet mites, are large enough to be seen by the human eye, but more commonly, many species of mites are so small that they go undetected. So is it really possible that each and every one of us is currently a mobile home for face and hair mites that we can’t even see?
Yes, You Most Likely Have Mites on Your Face Right Now
That’s right, mites are so common that you almost certainly have some living on your face and eyelashes right now. But before you reach for your strongest face wash, know that evidence suggests that these mites are harmless, yet unavoidable.
Humans are known to have two types of mites, both of which belong to the Demodex species. While there’s still much to learn about Demodex mites, what we do know is that they’re probably feeding on dead skin cells and oil from sebaceous glands, they tend to lay eggs near the rim of our hair follicles, and for the most part, they’re entirely harmless.
It has been speculated that an overabundance of Demodex mites may contribute to skin conditions like rosacea and acne. But so far, there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest these mites are the cause of these conditions, and not just innocent bystanders. That said, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why certain people seem to attract more mites than others, but Demodex mites have been found to be living on humans of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. (BBC Earth, National Geographic)
So How Do You Get Rid of Demodex Mites?
Although it may not be exactly what you want to hear, there’s no way to get rid of Demodex mites. No matter what you do, they will eventually come back, as they can be very easily transmitted from person to person and even from your bedding and towels. But there are some things you can do to control their population and keep your skin and hair looking and feeling clean and healthy.
- Wash your face. While it’s not possible to scrub these mites away, washing your face regularly can help to control the number of mites living on your skin. And if they do have anything to do with acne, washing your face can help to limit the amount of dirt, oil, and maybe even mites that are trapped in your pores.
- Remove your makeup before bed. Mites or no mites, this is a good habit to maintain for healthy skin, but it can be especially important to remove your mascara before going to bed to help reduce the mite population that may be residing in the follicles of your eyelashes.
- Exfoliate. This removes dead skin cells and cleans out pores, where Demodex may be living, not to mention the fact that exfoliating can help restore younger-looking and smoother skin by getting rid of the dry, flaky layer on top.
- Wash your bedding regularly. If Demodex is hiding in your bedsheets and pillowcases, washing them regularly can help to limit the number of mites that can hop from your pillow to your skin. (The Indian Journal of Dermatology)
The Bottom Line
Even though the thought of microscopic mites eating, crawling, and living on your skin may not be the most pleasant thing in the world, the good news is that they’re not going to hurt you. Think of them as a natural part of your skin’s biome that may even turn out to be mutually beneficial. Demodex may be here to stay, but at least they’re polite guests.
If you suffer from skin conditions like rosacea or acne, it can be helpful to consult an experienced dermatologist, who will be able to assess your skin and guide you through the best treatment options. The knowledgeable staff at Premier Plastic S urgery in Pittsburgh and Wexford, comprised of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ana Busquets, Dr. Susannah McClain, and physician assistant Christopher Foti, would be happy to discuss your skincare needs and goals. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (724)-933-1800.