Did you know that you have company with you all the time? Yes, and they are 8-legged little guys who live in the hair follicles that cover your body! They especially love the moist environment around your eyes, and therefore, are most easily found in your eyelashes. Meet your friends, the Demodex mites!
These little microscopic parasites are mostly friendly to their human hosts. They produce an antigen when they feed in a follicle, and the human body makes antibodies against them keeping their reproduction low and in balance.
They are contagious! They feed off of the skin cells, hormones and sebacious materials in your follicles. The sebacious materials are basically the fatty acids and oils that your skin secretes naturally. They use their scales to anchor themselves to the hair strands and they lay their eggs inside the follicle.
The lifespan of the demodex mites can be several weeks, and they can infest anyone at any age. These little mites do not have anuses, and therefore do not rid themselves of waste. Their abdomens expand and they eventually die. Upon their death, and decomposition, their waste is released into the pore. This waste toxic and can trigger immune reactions which lead to infection and other skin related ailments. Studies have shown that 97% of adults have demodex mites, and they are very commonly found in teens with acne, and are often the cause of some rosacea.
Because of their microscopic size, they are often overlooked and can proliferate and become out of control. Up to 25 demodex mites can live in a single follicle!
So, what to do... the most effective way of managing this little beast is simple, wash daily. Do not go to sleep without cleansing! Make sure you're using good, quality cleansers that are effective and yet, not irritating to the eyes and skin. If you feel you may have an over proliferation of demodex mites, consult a doctor, or see a skin care specialist.