Demodicidosis: Facial Mites

You likely have parasites living in your face right now.

DERMATOLOGY The likelihood of hosting Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis mites increases as humans age. These thin elongated skin parasites have a predilection for facial follicles (D. folliculorum) and sebaceous glands (D. brevis). Both mite variants feed on sebaceous secretions and dead skin cells. They reproduce within the follicle or gland, and occasionally travel across the skin to a new follicle. Itching, rosacea or other symptoms may or may not be present. Confirming inhabitation generally requires microscopic examination of the oily skin secretions or sebum excretions from hair follicles of the face.

Long considered commensal organisms, these eight-legged mites can multiply from the few common in most adults to 10 or more within one follicle. Large numbers of D. folliculorum mites – a condition sometimes referred to as demodicidosis – may contribute to skin problems.

Researchers in Austria have treated rosacea-like dermodicidosis with oral ivermectin and topical permethrin cream. Doctors in Turkey published a paper in 2009 presenting results of 82 cases of demodictic blepharitis (Demodex spp.) treated in the Department of Ophthalmology and Parasitology for itching and redness in the eyes. "Using baby shampoo for cleansing the face reduces the risk of infestation. After the treatment of 32 cases with 4% pilocarpin HCI gel, we achieved a total cure in 12 eyes (37.5%), partial improvement in 13 eyes (40.6%), making a total of 25 eyes (78.1%). The treatment was unsuccessful in 7 eyes (21.9%)."

Tags: clinical trial, dermatologist, dermatological research, human, skin parasites


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