Facial mites, also known as Demodex folliculorum , are microscopic, mite-like organisms. They live in the hair follicles of the skin, especially on the face, around the eyelids and eyelashes, and feed on dead skin cells and oils. Research shows that all adults have them.
While you may think of them as unwanted visitors, facial mites generally don't cause any problems. They can even help your skin by removing debris and dead cells from your face.
However, they can become problematic when they proliferate, a condition known as demodicosis . This can cause symptoms like itching and sores, and cause or worsen skin conditions like eczema or rosacea . Treatment is needed.
This article looks at the symptoms and complications of facial mite overgrowth, how to diagnose and treat it, and how to combat these organisms.
What is demodicosis?
Demodectic mange is an infection with facial mites. It causes small white bumps, similar to acne-like whiteheads, as well as redness and itchiness. Demodectic mange develops when facial mites multiply rapidly and cannot be controlled by your normal immune response.
Types of demodex mites
Demodex folliculorum (D. folliculorum) is one of the two known types of Demodex mites in humans. They usually only appear on the face, especially around the eyelids and lashes.
In addition to being known as facial mites, you may hear that they are called hair mites . They are one and the same.
Ticks can only survive on human skin. Although they generally remain within the hair follicle, the mites come to the surface of the skin to mate while you sleep. The females then tunnel into their skin. They lay their eggs one to five millimeters below the surface.
The period from hatching to maturity lasts about two weeks. Its shelf life varies from one to two months.
Ticks on the face in children under 5 years of age are rare, perhaps because there is not enough oil in the skin to nourish them.
Another type, Demodex brevis (D. brevis), usually lives on fine, wrinkled skin. This includes the elbows, knees, shoulder blades, the area around the penis, and under the breast.
Researchers believe that there are other types of Demodex mites. They may differ based on geographic location.
Symptoms of facial mites
Facial tweezers are typically 0.2 to 0.4 millimeters in size, which is less than half the thickness of a credit card. They cannot be seen with the naked eye.
A normal level of facial mites does not cause any symptoms. However, demodicosis can.
Signs of demodicosis can appear quickly, even overnight. You may notice a patch of small, pimple-like pimples around your eyes or nose.
Other symptoms include:
- Scaly and itchy skin
- Redness and irritation.
- Red or white pustules
- Acne-like rashes
- Scratch ulcers
- Lines (hole strokes) on the face.
- Loss of eyelashes
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Decreased vision
Demodectic mange is usually easy to treat and does not cause further complications thereafter.
But if left untreated, it can sometimes lead to skin conditions such as:
- Rosacea – A skin disorder that causes inflammation, redness, and pustules on the face.
- Blepharitis : inflammation of the eyelids that causes redness and watery eyes.
- Dermatitis : sensitive and irritated skin with symptoms such as redness, itching and pain.
People with rosacea tend to have more facial mites. Researchers have debated whether demodicosis causes rosacea or is an outcome, although recent science has pointed to the latter.
Demodectic scabies can aggravate the symptoms of acne, eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis.
Facial mites are microscopic organisms that live in the hair follicles of the face. They feed on dead skin and oil. They usually do not cause any symptoms unless they grow too large (demodicosis). It causes small white bumps and dry, itchy, flaky, and irritated skin with acne-like sores. Untreated overgrowth can lead to the development or worsening of other skin conditions.
Facial mites are a normal part of healthy skin. They can be transmitted from one person to another through close contact, as if they were sleeping in the same bed. But they are more likely to happen when faces touch, for example during a kiss.
The immune system can generally control the number of facial mites on the skin. When the immune system stops working properly, facial mites have a chance to multiply and spread.
Some people are at higher risk of developing a facial mite than others.
This includes people with medical conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV or AIDS .
Other risk factors for demodicosis include:
- Age : Demodectic mange usually doesn't appear until age 40 and is much more common in older people.
- Sex : Biological males are more likely than biological females to experience overgrowth of both Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis .
You don't need to see a doctor for facial mites unless you have symptoms of demodicosis.
Your doctor can predict that you have facial mites by the appearance of your skin. Demodectic mange often causes a white glow on the skin known as Demodex frost .
If you are having an overgrowth test, your healthcare provider may gently scrape skin cells from oily areas of the skin, such as around the nose or mouth, which are mature feeding grounds for facial mites. . In addition, they can remove some of the tissue in a so-called standardized skin surface biopsy (SSSB).
The samples are then examined under a microscope and the number of mites is counted to make sure there are more than normal.
Ticks are contagious through close contact, such as kissing. You are at higher risk if your immune system is weakened or suppressed, you are over 40 years old, and / or you are a man.
Demodectic scabies can be diagnosed by examining skin scrapings or biopsies in the laboratory.
It is not necessary to treat facial mites unless they are overgrowing.
Finding the right treatment for demodicosis can be difficult at first, as facial skin is very sensitive. Your healthcare professional will tell you where to start.
There are several things you can do at home to cure and prevent demodicosis:
- Wash your hair and lashes daily with a mild shampoo.
- Use a facial cleanser twice a day.
- Avoid using oily / greasy personal care products.
- Exfoliate regularly to remove dead cells.
- Try not to scratch or rub your face whenever possible.
There are many over-the-counter home treatment options for demodicosis:
- Tea tree oil : Best overall treatment according to 2020 study
- Topical permethrin : May reduce ticks when used for two weeks
- Cliradex Wipes : Contains 4-terpineol, a key component of tea tree oil; wear around the eyes for six to eight weeks
There are also prescription medications that can help treat demodicosis. Your healthcare provider can help you choose the treatment with the fewest side effects.
- Metronidazole : This antibiotic can help by making it difficult for ticks to move and potentially even kill them. It comes in the form of oral tablets and topical creams. Possible side effects of the pills include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
- Crotamiton – A topical cream used to treat mites and itching. Apply after washing. Possible mild skin irritation.
- Ivermectin: This cream is used for facial mites that do not respond to other treatments. It is used most often in people with weakened immune systems. Possible side effects include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Treatment for excessive facial mites may include washing your face, hair, and eyelashes and exfoliating regularly. Several over-the-counter medications, including tea tree oil, can be helpful. In some cases, prescription drugs such as metronidazole and ivermectin may be required.
Prevention of the spread
Although all adults are believed to have facial mites, it is best not to pass them on to anyone else if it is too tall.
You can do it:
- Remove excess oil from your skin by washing your face twice a day.
- Never share cosmetics or facial products with anyone else.
- Regular washing of items that could potentially become common, such as bedding and towels.
Facial mites are microscopic organisms that live in the hair follicles on the face and eat dead skin. They are usually invisible, but sometimes they overflow and cause small white bumps that can be itchy or even painful.
Ticks are infectious by close contact. Weak immune systems can allow them to get out of control.
They are diagnosed with skin scrapings or biopsies. Additional cleaning, tea tree oil, topical treatments, or prescription medications may be needed to get rid of the outbreak.
To prevent them from reappearing or spreading, try not to touch your face, wash your face frequently, and do not share facial products with anyone.
Get the word of drug information
As disgusting as it may seem for microscopic parasites to crawl up your face, these mites are common. If you are an adult, you can assume you have them.
When overgrowth occurs, it is easy to cure. To prevent overgrowth, wash your face with a mild cleanser twice a day and avoid oily makeup and face creams.
Exfoliation can also help, as it removes dead skin cells that mites feed on.