Demodex mites are tiny parasitic mites that live in and near hair follicles of mammals. There are some 65 species of Demodex mites and two of such mites live on humans. They are the Demodex folliculorum and the Demodex brevis. These two types of mites are also known as Eyelash mites. Demodex canis live on domestic dogs. Demodex mites can cause skin diseases.
Demodex folliculorum is usually found in hair follicles while Demodex brevis lives in sebaceous glands connected to hair follicles. Both these two species of Demodex mites are primarily found in the face, near the nose, the eyelashes and eyebrows. If a person scratches the infested area, these mites can be transfer to other areas of the body.
The adult Demodex mites are only about 0.3 – 0.4 millimetre long with elongated body. The body are covered with scales for anchoring themselves in the hair follicles. They have short segmented legs with pin like mouth parts for eating skin cells and oil (sebum) accumulated in the hair follicles. Demodex mites leave the hair follicles and move around on the skin while we sleep. They are active during the night because they try to avoid the light.
Mating takes place in the hair follicle opening. The female Demodex mites lay their eggs inside the hair follicles or sebaceous glands. The larvae hatch in about three to four days and reach adult form in about seven days. The lifespan of a Demodex mite is only several weeks. The dead mites decompose inside the hair follicles or sebaceous glands. Imagine having these Demodex mites mating in your face, your nose, eyelashes and eyebrows. So make sure you clean your face and remove your makeups before you go to sleep and discard the cosmetics that you have been using a year ago. It is better not to share cosmetics too.
Researches has indicated that the common skin Rosacea may be caused by the decomposing demodex mites, possibly due to the bacterium found in their bodies. Older people are more likely to carry these mites than younger children and young adults but you never know till you feel crawling sensation on your face.
In most cases, these Demodex mites go unobserved without any adverse symptoms but in cases of suppressed immune system, the mites populations can dramatically increased in number. Demodex mite bites are itchy and cause inflammation and other skin disorders.
Demodex canis live predominantly on domestic dogs but can occasionally infest humans through their pet dogs. The infestation of these mites can develop into a condition called demodectic mange. These mites are also known as mange mites The lesions are found on the face, muzzle, forelimbs and periorbital regions. In more sever form, these mites can result in secondary infection of red skin, immediately.