top of page

Demodex Mites (and Others?)

"Demodex: The worst enemies are the ones that used to be friends."


Demodex mites are common ectoparasites of the human pilosebaceous units.

Most adults are infested with Demodex mites without clinical symptoms.

Demodex mite will only become a pathogenic organism when there is an abnormal increase in the number of Demodex mite density. This situation happens when the equilibrium between Demodex mites, skin microenvironment and human immunity system changes.

Demodex infestation can cause multiple skin disorders, which are grouped under the term demodicosis or demodicidosis. (WRINKLES?)

Clinical manifestations of demodicosis can mimic other known skin diseases such as folliculitis, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, which is why it is often misdiagnosed.

Diagnosis criteria consists of relevant correlation of suspected clinical skin lesions, confirmed by the presence of abnormal proliferation of Demodex mites and by clinical cure after acaricidal treatment together with normalization of Demodex mite density. Dermatologists should be aware that demodicosis is not an uncommon skin disease, and there are still many unknowns about it that should be researched further.


Demodex mites, the most common human mite, can cause dry eye and other ocular diseases. Demodex folliculorum is a type of demodex mite that lives in the hair follicles of the face and eyes, particularly on the eyelids and lashes.

Demodex mites can cause blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids that can lead to severe dry eye. Other symptoms of demodicosis include:

  • Cuffing: A classic symptom of an overpopulation of demodex mites that can cause dry eye symptoms that artificial tears can't address

  • Cylindrical dandruff: Also known as colorettes, this appears around the bases of eyelashes

Demodex mites come out during the night to eat dead skin cells, lay eggs and expel waste products in your eyelid glands and eyelash follicles.

Demodex mites naturally occur on the skin in small amounts and can actually be beneficial for the skin, as they remove the dead skin cells. In small numbers, they typically do not cause any harm or symptoms.

However, if they reproduce in large numbers, they can cause significant damage to the skin and eyes— dry, red, and itchy skin, and/or eczema, as well as severe inflammation of the eyelids, and damage to the oil glands in the eyelid margins, meibomian glands and eyelashes.


What does AI say about mites?

There are many types of mites that can affect humans, including:

Demodex mites

These mites cause a scabies-like dermatitis, also known as mange.

Clover mites

These tiny mites are red, black, green, or brown, and have two front legs that are twice the size of their other legs. They can enter homes through tiny cracks, and are attracted to lawns with fruit trees or gardens.

Dust mites

These microscopic mites are too small to see or feel, and live in homes, especially in bedrooms, mattresses, and carpets. They can hitchhike on clothing, but don't live or crawl on humans much.

Oak mites

These mites live on oak trees, but can also be found in grains and other stored products. Their bites cause an itchy, red rash with tiny bumps that can last up to two weeks.

Bird mites

These mites can bite people who handle live poultry or pet birds, or who have birds' nests on their homes.

Rodent mites

These mites can bite people from cats, dogs (especially puppies), and rabbits.


These mites attach themselves to hosts and hitchhike into homes on people and pets.

Ear mites

These mites are common in dogs, and can be visible as tiny white dots in the ear.

How mites impact skin:

Scabies mite. A scabies infestation is caused by a tiny mite (1/50-inch) that burrows into the skin, feeds on cell liquids and lays 10-25 eggs along a horizontal burrow. Three to four days after hatching, the larval mites emerge from the skin, travel to another area where they burrow under the skin and repeat the process. Many animals, both domestic and wild, can be similarly infected by other species of scabies mite.

In humans, these scabies mites are known as Sarcoptes scabiei. After the initial infestation, there is a six-week incubation period before itching starts. During this time, about three generations of mites develop and can be readily transmitted to other people. The itching is caused by the body's reaction to toxic mite secretions and excretions and is so severe that it often keeps one awake at night. The itching can sometimes be alleviated by cortisone ointments, but the underlying cause of the problem, the mites, will not be destroyed by topical itch medications.

The second symptom of scabies is a characteristic rash that resembles tiny blisters. Although the itching and rash are characteristic of scabies, proper identification is based on finding burrows, mites, eggs or mite feces. A dermatologist should be consulted to diagnose this medical problem.

Scabies mites burrow easier where the skin is thin. For this reason, older persons whose skin is thinner can be severely attacked by scabies mites. Nursing homes can sometimes have serious outbreaks of scabies.


Weekly Webinar Links: Join us for detailed health information - at no charge. All are welcome.

Monday at noon EST -

Wednesday at 8 pm EST -


Be Bold - Be Brave - Stay Well


214 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page