These horrifying creepy crawlies are enough to make your skin crawl. But there could be good reason for that – because they are living on your face.
Almost everyone on Earth is a host for the creepy Demodex mites, which have eight legs and spend their whole lives crawling on your skin – including eating, mating and dying. The microscopic creatures may look terrifying but fear not, in the majority of cases, the bugs are completely harmless.
The two types – Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis – are sometimes referred to as ‘eyelash mites’ as they tend to be found near the hair follicles, around the nose, eyelashes and eyebrows.
And while most people won’t even notice the beasties on their skin, in some cases the mites have been linked rosacea – a common skin condition which can cause permanent redness on the face, as well as stinging sensations, spots and visible blood vessels.
Stress can be cause of flare-ups, as well as illness or a weakened immune system.
Older people are much more likely to have the creatures on their skin, with an estimated two-thirds of elderly people thought to be carriers of the mites.
Half of adults and a third of young children will also have them on the surface of their skin.
Megan Thoemmes, who was a graduate student at North Carolina State University in 2014, studied the tiny mites after admitting that she was “disgusted” when she first found one on her face.
She told NPR : “The first time I found one on my face, I didn’t sleep for four nights.”
But her opinion has now changed. “They’re actually pretty cute. With their eight little legs, they look like they’re almost swimming through the oil [produced by the sebaceous glands on your face].”