What Are Demodex Mites?

By nicole
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Rather, Parvaiz Anwar, and Iffat Hassan. 'Human demodex mite: the versatile mite of dermatological importance.' Indian journal of dermatology, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3884930
  • 2. Namazi, M R. 'A possible role for human follicle mites in skin's defense against bacteria.' Indian journal of dermatology, venereology and leprology, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17675744
  • 3. Zhao, Ya-e et al. 'Sociodemographic characteristics and risk factor analysis of Demodex infestation (Acari: Demodicidae).' Journal of Zhejiang University. Science, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3232433
  • 4. Luo, Yang et al. 'Treatment of mites folliculitis with an ornidazole-based sequential therapy: A randomized trial.' PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2739914
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Demodex mites are tiny parasitic mites that live on or near the hair follicles of mammals. There are two species that live on humans, including Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. D. folliculorum is usually found on the face, including the cheeks, eyebrows, eyelashes and eyelids. D. brevis is more commonly found on the neck and chest.1Rather, Parvaiz Anwar, and Iffat Hassan. ‘Human demodex mite: the versatile mite of dermatological importance.’ Indian journal of dermatology, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3884930

These mites feed on dead skin cells, oil and hormones. Most of the time, Demodex mites are harmless. However, for some people, many of them may cause or worsen skin problems, such as rosacea. Skin conditions caused by Demodex mites are called demodicosis.

Symptoms of Demodex Mites

Most people with Demodex mites don't develop any symptoms. However, people who have large amounts of Demodex mites on their skin may be diagnosed with demodicosis. Demodicosis is an inflammatory skin disease that can mimic other inflammatory skin conditions.

Symptoms of demodicosis may include dryness, eye irritation, redness, coarse or rough skin, scaly or patchy skin, sensitive or irritated skin and itching. The symptoms caused by Demodex mites are sometimes mistaken for other skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and rosacea. People with Demodex mite symptoms should see a doctor for a medical evaluation.

Demodex Mites

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