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Skin Mites That Mate on Our Faces at Night Are Slowly Merging With Humans

A symbiotic relationship?

Tiny mites  (0.3-4 mm) that are affectionately referred to as Demodex Folliculorum live in the pores of our skin. Then they come out at night and ‘party’ crawling over our skin in search of a mate, returning to their subdermal homes at dawn to feed on dead skin cells. Which sounds like a sci-fi horror novel narrative.

“Mites have been blamed for a lot of things,” said zoologist Henk Braig of the University of Bangor and the National University of San Juan in Argentina. “The long association with humans might suggest that they also could have simple but important beneficial roles, for example, in keeping the pores in our face unplugged.”


Science Alert, by Michelle Starr, June 21, 2022

D. folliculorum is only found on humans, and research suggests, that the microscopic mites evolving into an internal symbiont – and one that shares a mutually beneficial relationship with its human hosts.

However, if the tiny mites ‘party’ too much there can be problems. D. folliculorum is currently being investigated as a potential cause of rosacea. There’s evidence that these mites can cause flare-ups if you have rosacea. In fact, the National Rosacea Foundation estimates that rosacea patients have up to 18 times more Demodex mites than patients without rosacea.