Ailments & Conditions

What are Demodex Mites?

Demodex mites are small insect-like organisms living in the skin’s hair follicles. They typically look like white bumps or ticks with 8 legs. These organisms feed on dead cells on the skin. The size is often from 0.2 to 0.4 mm. We all have a small amount of Demodex mites on the body to help with waste or dead skin removal. However, they might trigger a health issue when they worsen an existing skin condition, such as rosacea or eczema. An overgrowth of these organisms may need treatment. [1]

Types of Demodex Mites

There are two forms of Demodex mites: Demodex brevis and Demodex folliculorum. They often live on wrinkled and thin skin areas, such as faces, shoulder blades, knees, and elbows. In some people, these organisms can be found under the breasts or around the penis. Demodex folliculorum often shows up on the face, particularly around the eyelashes and eyelid.

Face mites can survive only on human skin. Though they often stay in the hair follicle, mites may come out to the skin’s surface to mate when you are sleeping. Female mites tend to burrow tunnels on your face skin and lay eggs 1 to 5 mm deep. It takes around 14 days for mite eggs to hatch and reach adulthood. These mites can live on the skin for around 1 up to 2 months. [2]