Did you know that everyone has animals living on their faces? These skin mites generally do no harm…but those who have Rosacea should understand their presence
Skin mites sounds rather disgusting and the general public doesn’t understand that mites are more prevalent than they think. With a microscope scientists are able to see thousands of skin mites living right on your face.
“One 2009 study found 182 species of bacteria living on the forearm alone, 30 of which were new to science. When scientists examine other regions of the skin, they discover many hundreds of other species. Furthermore, the species are very different on different parts of your body. Your dry forearm is home to species adapted to a “desert,” species adapted to warm, moist underarms and the groin form “tropical” communities, and still other communities live in oily areas like hair follicles and the crease of your nose. Scientists have discovered over 700 species that live in the human mouth and over 800 species that live in the colon” (Biology for The Informed Citizen, 2014, p. 286).
Some of the most populated mites are called Brevis and Demodex folliculorum or otherwise known as eyebrow mites. These mites live in the follicles of your hairs, sometimes more than one per follicle. Now, I know that up close these mites looks like the SCARIEST creatures you’ve ever seen and you’re probably feeling your skin itch right now and running towards the face wash… but WAIT!
They’re not bad for you. In fact, these mites live in a commensalism agreement with us which means, they are part of an ecological interaction in which ones species benefits and the other is helped nor harmed. A.K.A they live on our bodies and give nothing in return.
Demodex mites are thought to feed off of dead skin cells and sebum which is oil produced from the sebaceous glands. They are most common on our faces, breasts and private areas… why? They feed off of oily and sweet skin. They do not like acidic environments.
Despite not harming nor helping us, mites will always look out for themselves. They want to survive and will fight other bacteria for space and food. Bacteria living in other locations may excrete toxins and gases to kill off other bacteria which can then become harmful for us. They will live happily until their “homes” are threatened and space becomes scarce.
When do Demodex mites become a problem? When they experience a population explosion. If the climate changes, our skins change then the mites can reproduce very quickly and when there are too many mites our skin becomes inflamed and skin will become red, itchy or dry and patchy.
Perhaps we can use our own judgement to say that if skin seems unusually blotchy and dry there could be a mite infestation and proper hygiene and avoiding touching the face (adding extra sebum to the skin) can help fix this.
Scientists have found that those suffering with Rosacea have a larger amount of these mites than those without Rosacea. Although there is no definite answer, this is a very good indication that Rosacea flare ups are a cause of an increased population of skin mites.
An interesting but slightly disgusting fact is that Demodex skin mites save their elimination until death. Once they die, their bodies are said to burst and feces built up over their lifetime explodes and remains on your face. This too, can cause irritation and flare ups.
We know that in general, skin mites are nothing new and nothing to be afraid of. Whether we like it or not they are on our face and even by taking extreme measure to remove them, they will reappear within 6 days. The only times we need to worry about these mites is when they are causing irritation to the skin.
How to help eliminate a large population of Demodex mites:
- 1. Do not touch your face, your hands contain sebum, dirt and bacteria that will be transferred to your face. This bacteria will fight for space and cause the Demodex mites to make the skin inflamed.
- 2. Do wash your face thoroughly – I like to use the Konjac Sponge because it will fit in all the creases of the face like the nose and chin. It delivers a gentle exfoliation which aids in a deeper clean. I notice when I use this my skin is softer and brighter right away because it aids in blow circulation and removes dirt. Using your fingers and cleanser isn’t good enough, your fingers will not penetrate the skin like a Konjac Sponge. I add 1 drop of cleanser for maximum cleansing effects. The Luxx Health Konjac Sponge is infused with Bamboo Charcoal which is great for removing those mites, charcoal helps eliminate acne and bacteria on the skin. Right now you can get them on sale. 2 Konjac sponges for $6.77 on Amazon.com
- 3. Do not use oils on skin. For a limited time, avoid using oils on the skin….i’m personally a huge fan of Rosa Oil, Squalene Oil and Jojoba Oil but the less oil on the skin the better while attempting to eliminate mites.
- 4. Wash your bed sheets regularly. Bacteria like the Pseudomonas aeruginosa live on virtually everything, including pillow cases and bed sheets and your face wash towels. Keeping these clean will help reduce the spread of bacteria.
- 5. Don’t eat foods that are sweet and oily. Avoid sugar. Opt for sauerkraut instead of coleslaw, lemon-water instead of pop and sugar-free sorbet instead of ice cream.
- 6. Never sleep with your makeup on. Read this post to learn why.
Don’t be afraid by these ugly-looking mites…I swear the world’s greatest horror film could be made by the microscopic images of bacteria we have in and on our bodies. Just keep in mind that they do exist and they require food and space just like you. If they’re needs aren’t met, they will get upset and can cause your skin to become inflamed. Be sure to use a Konjac Sponge in your daily cleansing routine and you will be fine!