These bad boys are microscopic mites, and there are many of them crawling all over your face right now. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
They’re called demodex folliculorum mites. They’ve got eight legs and worm-like bodies, and they mainly hang out around your pores and hair follicles. But they’ve been been spotted on cheeks, eyebrows, eyelashes, and foreheads. It’s estimated that each person has two mites per eyelash. Some people have hundreds of these things on their face, while others have thousands. When someone has so many on their face that it’s considered an infestation, it’s known as demodicosis.
But don’t panic, yet…
Researchers think the mites are eating bacteria that lives on your skin. Or it could be dead skin cells that they’re snacking on, or oil from the sebaceous gland. When the mites die, they simply dry up on your face.
And not to get too gross, but these mites don’t have anuses so their built-up waste dissolves on your skin after they die. It is thought that this waste may be connected to rosacea, a skin condition that causes irritation and then redness.
And how do the mites reproduce, you ask?
Once you’re asleep, they come out of your pores to mate, which involves laying their eggs at the rim of your pores. They only live 18-24 days, but a female lays 20-24 eggs a night. That means a single female can lay up to 576 eggs in its life cycle.
And in case you were wondering, no, washing your face won’t kill them. It’s actually almost impossible to get rid of them. And even if you did manage to wipe them out, you’d still probably pick them up again, since we get these mites from contact with other people, and things like sheets, towels, and pillows.
Is anyone else itchy now?