How To Know If You Have Demodex Mites?

How To Know If You Have Demodex Mites?

How To Know If You Have Demodex Mites?

With the advent of technology, excessively fast lifestyle, increasing unhealthy food habits and daily routines, we all are exposed to a large number of diseases.

For example, every 25th person is affected by some or the other form of cancer- in the lungs, breast, kidney, skin, mouth and the likes.

The deaths caused due to cancer have almost doubled in the past decade. There are so many other similar deadly diseases which we do not even know about.

Similarly, can you ever imagine that mites are living on our face and skin?

Yes, the face we take so much care of?

The face we make sure is glowing, acne free and spotless? The skin we make sure is bright and flawless?

However frightening, unbelievable and gross it may sound, it is true. Although this cannot be strictly called as a disease, it is something we all never look forward to.

What Are Demodex Mites?

Mites are excessively minute or microscopic arthropods (creatures that have skeletons) that are somewhere related to spiders and insects.

While a group of extremely small or tiny mites that stay in or around the hair follicles of mammals (vertebrates characterized by having mammary glands, hair and three middle ear bones) is referred to as Demodex Mites.

Till today, around 65 species of Demodex exist, which are popularly known as ‘eyelash mites’ have been said to exist.

Out of those mentioned above 65, only two are known to live on human beings: Demodex folliculorum (found in the hair follicles) and Demodex Brevis (found in the associated glands of those hair follicles).

Characteristics Of Demodex Mites

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    Demodex is so small that the human eye cannot trace them. You will have to use a microscope. Even the maximum size of the mites are too small to be visible by the naked human eye.
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    Their lifespan is around 14 days, on an average.
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    One of the fascinating and gross facts about Demodex is that they don’t excrete their entire lives. The waste keeps on accumulating in their body the whole life.
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    Their mating habits are equally fascinating. Males take the long journey of coming out of the pores to meet their female counterparts, who then lay eggs in some other orifice.

Where Are They Found? Can You See Demodex Mites?

These tiny eight-legged creatures usually choose sides of the nose, cheeks, eyelashes, forehead, and areas outside the ear as their habitat.

Although they live on the human body, they spread in the environment also via beddings, pillows, upholstery, basically every place where humans can shed their skin, knowingly or unknowingly.

Demodex Folliculorum

As discussed earlier, these mites live in the hair follicles and survive on the dead skin cells and the hormones.

Usually, they are found on the face. Commonly, people with weak immune systems are affected by these mites.

Demodex Brevis

Demodex brevis refers to that genus of the species that stay in the associated glands of the hair follicles of the mammals.

Their size varies from 0.15 to 0.40mm. For survival, they rely on the sebum- an oily secretion in the oil gland cells of the body.


Reasons You Might Be Infested With Demodex Mites

Hygiene

Although there is no established link between the level of personal hygiene and the infestation of the mites, however, it is a general notion that they prefer dirty faces as compared to the cleaned ones.

Oily Skin

Oily skin is more susceptible to the attack of mites as compared to the dry ones.

Makeup

It is always better to remove the makeup before sleeping because mascara and eye makeup usually increase the vulnerability to these mites.


Symptoms Of Demodex Mites In Humans

Usually, people are used as the carriers by these mites, and as a result, there are no visible symptoms.

However, where the infestation is substantial following symptoms appear: -

  • Redness of the skin
  • Change in the texture of the skin, a rough patch like the sandpaper appears
  • Continuous itching and burning sensation in the eyes
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    Decreased Vision
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    Consistent Acne

Usually, they attack areas like the neck and chest, but contrary to the other diseases, symptoms can be experienced on the other parts of the body as well. This is because you don’t know which oil gland the Demodex will choose as its habitat.

Demodex Mites Inside Nose

Demodex mites can be found inside the nose, on the eyelashes, inside your skin pores and so on. It is highly recommended to get them treated to avoid any further serious conditions.

Are Demodex Mites Dangerous?

In the typical situations, it has been observed that Demodex Brevis does not cause any complications. However, there is always a vulnerability if the number of the mites is vast. In the worst situations, they may lead to a disease called demodicosis.

Demodicosis has the following symptoms:

  • Red Skin
  • Constant itching
  • Paleness of the skin
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    Rashes
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    Thickening of the eyelid
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    Huge eyelashes loss
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    Irritation and redness of the eyes

Is Demodex Contagious?

Yes, this condition is communicable, i.e., it spreads by communicating or contacting people already affected by it. They grow naturally, and that is why the chances of adults affected by it are more as compared to the children.

It usually affects the people belonging to the age group of 20-30 years because the oil secretion during this period is at its peak. And due to the same reason, there are next to impossible chances that it will be found in children below the age of 5 years because the oil secretions in them are the least during this period.

Also, the chances of it affecting the males are higher than that of females. However, it is not a scientific fact as of now.

How To Test For Demodex Mites?

Due to their microscopic nature and symptoms appearing only on large infestations, commonly people don’t know that there might be mites inhabiting on their follicles. They become aware of it only when they are tested for some other skin problems which they might be experiencing.

A doctor usually diagnoses D. Brevis with a biopsy, where a small skin sample is taken, and the patient is examined and analyzed under a microscope.

Demodex Mites Treatment In Humans

The complications arise only when the number of mites is significantly large else it is possible to treat it at home, unless the situation has worsened, in which case, medical intervention is required.

Here are some home remedies to kill Demodex Mites:

  • Avoiding the use of chemically manufactured cleansers, sunscreens, and lotions.
  • Bathing regularly
  • Exfoliating the skin on a regular basis
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    Taking a shower after workout sessions and long hours of sun exposure
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    Cleansing the face regularly
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    Washing the hair at least twice a week
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    Cleaning the eyelids thoroughly
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    Because they are communicable, it is wise to keep a check on your partner as well
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    Pets should be made to bath regularly and their hygiene should be checked
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    Cleaning your pillows and bed sheets regularly

Next, let’s have a look at how you can get rid of Demodex mites medically.

Depending on the level of infestation and the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may prescribe any of the following to reduce the level of sebum on the skin:

  • Sulfur
  • Salicylic acid
  • Crotamiton
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    Benzyl benzoate
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    Permethrin

Depending on the severity of the case, doctors may also use clinically Demodex tested insecticides on the face or apply highly concentrated alcoholic solutions to the affected areas. Along with it, medicines that boost the immunity system are also to be taken.

Can Demodex Mites Live In Bedding?

Yes, Demodex mites can make it to your pillows and bedding as well.

To get rid of them, here is what you need to do:

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    Remove the pillow cover and toss the pillows in your washing machine.
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    Add a few drops of mild detergent and ten drops of tea tree oil.
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    Wash the pillows in hot water to kill the mites.
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    Let them dry and change the pillow covers frequently.

Commonly Found Cases Of Demodex

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    Rosacea – It is an inflammatory disease with symptoms that include redness and excessive dryness on the face.
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    Blepharitis – It is an inflammatory eye disease with symptoms that include redness and excessive watering of the eyes.
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    Androgenetic Alopecia – It is an inherited disease with symptoms including excessive hair loss.
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    Nonspecific facial dermatitis – Symptoms of this issue are acne, itching, blemishes and spots on the face.

People with the conditions as mentioned above are more likely to be affected by Demodex Mites, sometimes even worsening the situation. So, they are advised to take extra care.

Conclusion

However gross, unpleasant and unhygienic it may sound, there might be mites living right under our nose in our skin and hair follicles. Usually, they are harmless unless of course, they exist in high quantity.

As they say, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ it is always recommended to maintain a certain standard of hygiene to keep the number of mites well in control. If you are having any symptoms, it is advised to visit the nearest doctor.

About the Author Linda

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