Mites (demodex mites)
Mites on human skin
Demodex mites live in hair follicles and sebaceous (oil) glands on the skin. Sometimes they are known as eyelash mites. Both species are primarily found on the face near the nose, the eyebrows and eyelashes. They also occur elsewhere on the body, such as around the ears, on the scalp, and in skin folds.
Demodex folliculorum mites live in the hair follicles. The adult mites are between 0.3 mm and 0.4 mm long, with a semi-transparent body. You can see fully grown adults with the naked eye, but a microscope is useful for a more reliable examination.
Demodex brevis live in the sebaceous glands connected to hair follicles. The adult mites are up to 0.2 mm long, with a semi-transparent body. You need a microscope to examine a plucked hair or thick oil squeezed from a gland to check for infestation.
Mites are transferred by skin and hair contact, particularly by sleeping with a person in close contact at night.
The mites eat skin-cells, hormones and oils (sebum) which accumulate in the hair follicles. Their digestive system is so efficient and results in so little waste that they have no excretory orifice. At night they leave the hair follicles and come out to mate. Eggs are laid deep in the hair follicles or oil glands, and are impossible to wash out. You have to wait for them to hatch, and then treat the mites.
The legged larvae hatch 3-4 days after the eggs are laid. It takes about a week for the larvae to develop into adults. The total lifespan of a demodex mite is several weeks. The dead mites decompose inside the hair follicles or sebaceous glands. For this reason mite treatment must last 6-8 weeks.
Symptoms of mite infestation
Most humans acquire mites shortly after birth, and they form part of the normal commensal skin faunae for the rest of their life. (1) At first there are only a few mites, but during adolescence when the prolific sebaceous glands produce more food for the mites, the mite population can increase. The number of mites on everyone's skin increases with age. (2)
For the majority of people, mites cause no symptoms (the mites are commensal). (1) It seems that in older people, those with suppressed immune systems (caused by stress or illness), or possibly those taking antibiotics or with compromised skin faunae, the mite population can sometimes dramatically increase and get out of control. Men are more prone to mite infestation than women because they have more sebaceous glands which provide food for the mites. (2)
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the edge of eyelids).
- Large pores.
- Dilated veins.
- Thin hair.
- Adult acne.
Prevention / remedies / cures / treatment for mites
- Tea tree oil.
- Clove oil.
- Flowers of sulphur.
- Grow Youthful visitor's experience with mite remedies.
1. Albert M Kligman, Michael S Christensen.
Demodex folliculorum: Requirements for Understanding Its Role in Human Skin Disease.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2011) 131, 8-10. doi:10.1038/jid.2010.335.
2. Dirk M. Elston. Demodex mites: Facts and controversies 2010. Clinics in Dermatology 28 (5): 502-504. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.006. PMID 20797509.
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