Demodex mites are parasites that live in the hair follicles on the human face. They can damage the skin and begin in middle age when the immune system is weaker. There are two types of mites: demodex folliculorum, which are long and live in the hair follicles; and demodex brevis, which are shorter and live in the sebaceous, or oil, glands. They are invisible to the naked eye and measure between 100 and 300 microns long.
Where to find demodex mites
Demodex mites can live anywhere on the body where there are hair roots and oil glands. They are most prevalent on the face, especially the chin, forehead, nose and cheeks. These areas provide an optimum temperature for the mites to live and breed. Mites can also live in eyelash roots and can be the reason for blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelash follicles, along the edge of the eyelid. The scalp can also be infected.
Signs of demodex mites
Signs of demodex mites include an itch around your eyebrows or nose, usually at night, and a crawling motion around your face, especially around the eyebrows. Mites can be beneficial as they help process excess waste from your body, such as dead skin, which helps to reduce the risk of infections and other possible health problems. However, in some cases, the mites can increase in number and spread rapidly, causing the skin to slough off, break out into a rash and cause hair loss. The mites have also been linked to acne as some doctors think that an abundance of mites can clog the pores.
Treatments of demodex mites
Tea tree oil soaps, creams and shampoos are very effective for demodex mites. Use tea tree oil soap to cleanse the face and body,especially at night before bed.
Never go to bed with a dirty face because the mites are more active at night and when they come into contact with the bacteria, they carry it down into your pores.
Use tea tree oil cream twice daily; if the cream is too irritating to the skin, switch every second day with calendula cream and then go back to the tea tree oil cream.
Wash your hair with tea tree oil shampoo daily and change your pillow case every day as well.
Wash linens with a perfume-free and dye-free detergent and add 10 drops of tea tree oil to each load.