In news that’s bound to have readers scratching their faces, scientists have revealed that there are tiny mites live in the pores of your face right now. Yes, you.
The eight-legged mites are called Demodex, and are too small to be seen with to the naked eye.
Speaking to KQED , Dr Michelle Trautwein, an expert at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco, explained: “They look like kind of like stubby little worms.”
In her studies, Dr Trautwein analysed the faces of more than 2,000 participants – and the face mites were discovered on all of them.
She added: “No one is thrilled at the initial notion that they have arachnids on their face. But people are often curious – even in their revulsion.”
The face mites reside in the hair follicles on our faces, feeding on sebum – the oil produced to keep your face from drying out.
The mites only live for around two weeks and spend much of this time mating and laying eggs within your pores. Grim.
While most of us will never notice the mites, they can cause severe problems for some unlucky people.
If they become overloaded in the skin, the mites can cause a condition called demodicosis.
Speaking to KQED, Dr Kanade Shinkai, a dermatologist at UCSF, explained: “There is a very particular look to people suffering from demodicosis. We call it the Demodex frost.
“It’s sort of a white sheen on the skin. And if you look really closely, you can see coming out of every pore. If you scrape those pores, you can see it frothing with little Demodex face mites.”
Most people with demodicosis mistake the mites for whiteheads, Dr Kanade Shinkai added.
She said: “Patients almost universally describe this explosive development of pustules like whiteheads on their face. It's really dramatic.
“And what's really dramatic about it is that they're often fine the day before, and then they develop it, overnight.”
Before you panic, it’s very unlikely that your face mites will cause you any harm.
Dr Tretwein added: “They're not dangerous in a broad sense because we all have them and most of us seem to be cohabiting quite well with them.”
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