"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

April 18, 2010

April 18 - Demodex folliculorum

One of the things that grosses non-parasitologists out (and probably many parasitologists!) is the fact that little tiny mites live on our eyelashes. These are Demodex folliculorum, and they can actually inhabit many different follicles on humans' faces. In fact, they're a bit social - as many as 10 of them can co-exist in a single follicle (party on the forehead - spread the word!) There are no known pathogens that they spread, but they can cause people to lose hair and they can make pores larger. They don't bite people and instead they mostly just munch up the secretions from our sebaceous glands. One of the coolest things is that they seem to be so incredibly efficient at digestion that they don't produce waste - so much so that they don't even have an excretory pore for defecation. So, if you have to deal with the fact that right now there are potentially a bunch of tiny spider-like things living on your face, at least you can take a little comfort from the knowledge that they are clean house guests.


  1. It seems that cream Demodexin is one of the most effective topical products to treat demodex.

  2. There is nothing 'cool' about this damnable parasite, the Demodex Mite. Where the incorrect information that they don't produce waste originated from, God only knows. From Emeds: Accumulation of waste material of the follicle mite may occur in affected follicles or sebaceous glands. Electron micrographs of the mite surface and feces show bacterial, viral, and rickettsial elements.
    Not cool at all...

    I am currently experiencing an infestation of these little bastards, because of this very "uncool parasitic, opportunistic mite." During a recent illness, my immune system must have been weakened, added to high stress as a business owner.
    These mites will proliferate, multiplying to unbelievable numbers soon becoming an infestation on your face, in your eyes, nose, eyebrows, hairline, scalp.
    And yes, they do leave waste, that your body will absorb compromising your lymphatic system. They come alive at night, using your eyes as it's disgusting mating ground. Add to all the above, at this stage, with your eyes closed, oddly, some of those infected are able to see the little bastards having an orgy on thier eyeballs.

    No know pathogens?
    Pathogenic role of Demodex mites in blepharitis, Demodectic Rosacea,
    Read an accurate articles regarding this 'fun party animal' destroying your face.

    Research indicates that human demodex is a conditional-pathogenic parasite. The disorder occurs as the result of a large infestation of demodex mites on the skin, combined with a weakened immune system. The physical, chemical and mechanical stimulation of the skin from the mites can cause the immune system to react in extreme ways. Local allergic inflammation, erythema, papules and pustules are all reactions by the immune system.

    Are Demodex Mites contagious?

    Yes, demodex mites are very contagious. They are acquired through physical contact with infected persons; for example through kissing, hugging, using the same towels, etc.

    What damage can Demodex do?

    Demodex mites live inside the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, sucking nutrients from the hair roots and damaging the cell walls. After mating they burrow into the skin, laying eggs, introducing bacteria and infection to the skin. Throughout the five phases of their life cycle, these mites destroy the skin by excreting wastes and secretions, laying eggs and dying within its layers. After death, their corpses become liquid and decompose inside the skin.

    Without diagnosis, quick and proper treatment, this condition causes increased damage to health, structure and beauty of the skin. The destruction of the skin becomes more and more severe as the condition persists, leaving the facial skin rough and ugly.

    Pathologic changes to the skin,enlarged opening of the hair follicles, widened pores, enlarged and damaged capillaries, hyperplasia of cells and even rhinophyma (growth of the nose and central facial areas) can develop. Given this, it is not difficult to imagine the extent of the damage that the mites cause.

    Apart from its higher density in patients with rosacea, Demodex mites have also been suggested as a cause of other skin diseases such as pityriasis folliculorum, perioral dermatitis [6], scabies-like eruptions, facial pigmentation, eruptions of the bald scalp, demodicosis gravis, and even basal cell carcinoma.

    I grow weary of the disinformation concerning the Demodex mite.

  3. Thank you opinion. Now please provide the relevant citations. You mentioned EMed and there seem to be a citation in one of your paragraph that looks like as if you copy-and-pasted (hence the [6] that pops out of nowhere and leads nowhere)- please provide links/references to studies relevant to the all of the above - it will be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

  4. An innocent annual eye exam turned into a demodex horror movie ...

    Today i was just told by my optometrist that i have these lovely creatures having a party of my eyelashes. She even let me look into the microscope and say hi to the cuties. (Arghhhh)

    Anyway, upon googling for further info, i came across this blog as well as a whole bunch of useful demodex sites. I also found the relevant link to what "Anonymous" has kindly shared.

    Although it's been over a year since Mr. Leung posted & requested references, I believe it's never too late to place the link of relevance here for the benefit of those in need of info: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946818/