Sunday, July 01, 2007

Demodex Mites Link to Skin Diseases

demodex mitesTiny parasitic mites that live in human hair follicles supposedly are the next link or cause to superficial skin diseases like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and even balding. So, are the accusations true?

Out of the 65 species of Demodex mites known (which belong to Class Arachnida, Order Acarina), only two species living on humans have been identified. D. folliculorum (Demodex folliculorum hominis) is found in hair follicles, while D. brevis (Demodex brevis) lives in sebaceous glands (or fat glands) connected to hair follicles. Both species are primarily found in the face, near the nose, the eyelashes and eyebrows, but also occur elsewhere on the body. The preferred sites are facial skin, forehead, cheeks, eyelashes and external ear channels.

Demodex feeds on oils, sebum, cellular proteins, dead skin, and possibly also hormones, fluids, systemic yeast, dietary yeast, and/or sugar in the system that extend to the follicle.

Both male and female Demodex mites have a genital opening, and fertilization is internal. Mating takes place in the follicle opening, and eggs are laid inside the hair follicles or sebaceous glands. The six-legged larvae hatch after 3-4 days, and it takes about seven days for the larvae to develop into adults. The dead mites decompose inside the hair follicles or sebaceous glands.

Older people are much more likely to carry the mites; estimates range as high as an 96-98% infestation rate in aged people. The lower rate of children may be due to the fact that children produce much less sebum. It is quite easy to look for one's own demodex mites, by carefully removing an eyelash or eyebrow hair and placing it under a microscope.

The mites are transferred between hosts through contact of hair, eyebrows and of the sebaceous glands on the nose. Mites can also be transferred through cloth material such as pillows and clothing that have been used by a demodex-infested host. Different species of animals host different species of demodex; and demodex is not contagious between different species.

Demodicosis may also occur in pets and causes conditions known as red mange or canine demodectic mange. The skin irritation of the infected animals is sometimes very extensive and results in loss of hairs and severe skin rashes. The dogs are infected by a species-specific parasite Demodex canis.

These mites are sensitive to light, so they usually only come out at night. Some people with an over-infestation of demodex mites may feel a burning or itching feeling at night.

Essentially, humans and other animals that are hosts live in harmony with the demodex mites. In the vast majority of cases, the mites go unobserved, without any adverse symptoms, but in certain cases (usually related to a suppressed immune system, caused by stress or illness) mite populations can dramatically increase, resulting in a condition known as demodicosis, characterised by itching, inflammation and other skin disorders. Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) can also be caused by Demodex mites. The incidence of demodicosis steadily increases with the individual's age. As mentioned, the infestation may be frequently free of symptoms but suppurative or glanulomatous reactions and inflammation in acute and chronic forms may occur due to demodicosis in humans.

There is some evidence linking demodex mites to some forms of the skin disease rosacea (red butterfly or blushing cheeks), possibly due to the bacterium Bacillus oleronius found in the mites. Some people believe that there is also a link to acne vulgaris, but there is little research to back this up, and quite reasonable experimental evidence linking acne vulgaris to a sensitivity to Propionibacterium acnes. So what's all the buzz about these little parasites causing all these skin diseases?

Demodicosis usually translates to some form of skin disease like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and balding. Because of this, getting rid of the mites is seemingly the next best approach for many sufferers. Different tactics in the elimination of demodex mites include application of various oils, lauric and capric acid from virgin coconut oil, tea tree oil, zinc and sulfur creams, Ivermectin, and/or sea buckthorn oil. And these are usually applied by night, since this is when the demodex mites surface to the top of the epidermis. Sometimes application of such oils or creams are recommended after washing with warm water in order to open up the skin pores. A new modern technique that is possibly a way to kill demodex mites is ultra pulse skin laser treatment as demodex mites are sensitive to light. And remember, these are mites and are among the smallest of arthropods, so don't waste your money on anti-fungals claiming to eliminate demodex mites.

But before you go out there and purchase treatment, please note that these mites may actually have a purpose to begin with. So all-out elimination may not be the answer.

The incidence of the list of skin diseases is possibly due to the mites sapping the follicle of vital nutrients, or due to the human body's impaired or over-active immune system attacking the follicle containing waste material from dead mites, causing pimples, loss of hair, or whatnot. In fact, it seems Demodex mites are not the cause of the skin diseases at all. The over-infestation of Demodex mites in people with such skin conditions may only be a consequence of a deeper underlying problem. As mentioned, Demodex mites usually live in harmony with its hosts and over-infestation is usually related to a suppressed immune system, caused by stress or illness. So the key may very well be normalizing and/or strengthening the body's immune system through proper changes in one's diet, habits, and lifestyle.


Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with a dermodex infestation for a year now and it is mentally and physically taxing. Where can I get information regarding the full life cycle,eradication treatment, home management (cleaning tips / extermination)so that I can live my life in peace? A year ago, I was happy. Today, I am badly scarred, physically worn down,a mental wreck and desperately need help. Doctors think that by prescribing a tube or two of permethrin, followed by a diagnosis of being delusional is the answer. Meanwhile, I am being eaten alive and scarred for life both mentally and physically.


Anonymous said...

I know what you're gong through, I've been dealing with Rosacea demodex mite infestation for 3 yrs, and it's pure tortue.
Your question is from awhile ago, but I'm leaving a post in case someone else finds this.
Go to, there is some really helpful advice there. The Borax, Hydrogen Peroxide treatment works, check it out. And, you can also ask questions.
Best of luck to anyone that reads this. :-)

Anonymous said...

My face is permanently scarred from a horrible case of rosacea, which several dermatologists mis-diagnosed as acne for years. I'm so upset with all of this. I went from doctor to doctor, and all they would do is keep prescribing antibiotics. As a result, I was on antibiotics for acne from age 14-38!! No wonder my immune system is down, my good bacteria were being killed along with the bad. Finally, after years of antibiotics, expensive laser treatments, over-priced skin treatments, etc. one of the doctors that originally mis-diagnosed me thought it was rosacea, since none of the many acne treatments worked for me. I was crying, ashamed of my face during that appt. with him, but he prescribed finacea cream to rub on the skin at night. It took about 3 or 4 weeks and I started to see a gradual improvment. Now my skin is looking pretty good. The scarring from before will most likely be there for life, but the prescribed cream seems to be really helping. The downside is that it costs $190 for a 50gram tube-outrageously expensive, but when you are ashamed to go out in public because of your bad skin you'll do anything. Hope this helps someone.

Anonymous said...

Finacea cream is a rosacea treatment. Glad it worked for you. I know the torture that all of you are going through. I have been miserable with my nose infestation and nothing seems to get rid of it. I have tried sulfur,permethin,tea tree oil and oil of oreagano creams and they still do not subside. It has totally changed my skins appearance and my self confidence has gone way down. It has also affected my social life. My heart goes out to each of you. If I find anything that works, I will post it.

Anonymous said...

I am using tea tree oil and daily shampooing of hair to control this pest. Also have to bath twice daily due to excessive sebum production. If you have problem in your hair, use tea tree oil shampoo or ginger oil shampoo. Use olive oil or coconut for cooking and salads. And don't get stressed - do things and be with people that will make you happy.

Anonymous said...

I know what doesn't work for demodex (scalp): Hair dye, Tea tree oil, selenium sulfide, permethian (sp) , soaking baths in Borax. Extra virgin organic coconut oil MIGHT be helping to keep the very prolific population down, but then again, maybe NOT.

The only thing that killed the little demodex beasts, on my back, was Vicks Vapor Rub, applied every other night for three applications. They are not permanently gone, but are making a come back after a few months.

The next thing I will try is to change my body Ph from acetic to basic, probably by giving up sweets and drinking a some vinegar in water. (It burns to a base. Or I could take 1/4 t. baking soda with water,and maybe that would work?

Does anyone have a clue how to get rid of the scalp demodex?

Fliyingdove15 said...

Try Glycerine from the drug store. Streight on the area. it is amazing! use it constantly until the population is almost zero it works fast. it brings the larve out and you can clean it up. try washing your clothes with it and all bedding. 

Speedjamie said...

I have been battling demodex mites in my eye lashes.   I don't know why they creeped in there, but I cannot get rid of them.   I can deal with them everywhere else, but how do you get them out of the eye lash follicles?   I never heard of this before, and never had a great deal of acne, minor roseacea (a glass of wine would bring that out).   I cannot get any sleep, they keep me awake all night.   My doctors and the ER think I am a lunatic!   I've cleaned off the glopps of them on my eyelashes, so the Dr's don't see them like I did at first.   Any suggestions out there?

Amster70 said...

Ok if you need to get rid of them you have to get rid of the dead skin, they feed on it.  I use digestive enzymes on my skin, keep it out of your hair it dissolves dead skin, your hair and nails are dead skin.  Mix it with water and some glycerin.  Take some niacin at the same time, they will start coming out like crazy.  For your hair use selenium, tea tree oil and jojoba oil.  You can get selenium supplements in capsule form and add it to your shampoo or lotion.  If you have it in your nose or sinuses use collidal silver nasal spray.  If your feet are crusty the digestive enzymes you can get at the store will work.  The niacin cleans it from the inside out and the enzymes take off the dead skin.  Also, you may have some issues with fungus, which may cause the itching too, the selenium will help.  If you can't get any relief you can try to pour hydrogen peroxide and some borax in the bath.  Clean your floors with enzymes or borax, vaccum a lot if you have carpet.  Keep dust to a minimum.  You don't have to throw away pillows, just put them in the dryer on high heat.  Wash clothing in hot water.  After you are free don't reinfect yourself with ex-lovers or family members or treat them too.

Wayne90921 said...

I have often wondered if the psoriasis caused on the head was due to mites of some sort because I have it and it feels like bugs are in my hair. In fact, the question I put into the search engine was, "Does psoriasis of the scalp come from mites from space?" Funny, huh?

I was thinking that they could design a shampoo that had a small amount of Boric, or Sulfuric, acid in it to kill off the little buggers and let us live itch and rash free.

Any dermatologists have an opinion?

wulong said...

I kill demodex using TTO, as well as sulphur.

Lee said...

there is a anti demodex shampoo, not sure if it has Boric acid (probably not) as they claim the shampoo is natural. Search for Ovante Demodex and will find lots of good anti demodex products for facial skin as well as for the scalp inluding the shampoo i am talking about and they also have the special - medicated hair conditioner for people with demodex.

Terry said...

In the shower, with the water off, I apply about 1/2 ounces of Tea Tree (oil mixed with Tea Tree shampoo) to the top of my head. I cut the TTO to 50% strength with the shampoo. I then massage it into my hair, face and neck. This includes the eye lids, ears, and nose. I leave it on for approx 2 minutes, then turn on the shower and rinse it off. I am into the second week of the once-a-day treatment and I can't detect anymore Demodex mites. I plan on going through the entire six week treatment, then reduce it to twice a week.
My eyes no longer crust over during the night. They are not red all day like they used to be. I am sleeping MUCH better; all night; 8 hours.
Thank goodness for TTO. It has saved me from Demodex.
I also agree that Demodex is a parasite with no redeeming qualities. I will continue to use TTO for maintenance to keep them from coming back.

Del Red said...

The are defiantly part of the issue and even if indirectly they are a cause of dermatitis in humans, so the authors last comments playing down their significance is I feel incorrect, over-abundance of these mites is directly related to the severity of skin disorders in people and unlike the above its not so much stress or immune related disorders its a mite population and their by-products typically faeces that reaches a tipping point in the skin that the body reacts too.

Karen Cowles said...

For all the services I offer it is very important to know this information. has a great physician who treats or refers clients to solutions. We both endlessly research medical information to serve our clients.

Md Hasan said...

known as atopic dermatitis, this is a long-term skin disease. The most common
symptoms are dry and itchy skin, rashes on the face, inside the elbows, behind
the knees, and on the hands and feet. Currently, there is no single test to
diagnose eczema, so doctors rely on information about you and your family. Eczema

rabia basri said...

skin infection caused by bacteria. Usually the cause is staphylococcal (staph),
but sometimes streptococcus (strep) can cause it, too. It is most common in
children between the ages of 2 and 6. It usually starts when bacteria get into
a break in the skin, such as a cut, scratch, or insect bite. Symptoms start
with red or pimple-like sores surrounded by red skin. These sores usually occur
on your face, arms, and legs. The sores fill with pus, then break open after a
few days and form a thick crust. You can treat impetigo with antibiotics. Impetigo

Post a Comment