Microscopic Mites That Mate on Our Faces at Night May Soon Become One With Humans

Demodex folliculorum Mite on Skin

Image showing Demodex folliculorum mite on skin under Hirox microscope. Credit: University of Reading

The secret lives of mites in the skin of our faces.

First ever comprehensive DNA analysis of mites that live in the hair follicles of all humans reveals explanations for their bizarre mating habits, body features, and evolutionary future.

Microscopic mites that live in human pores and mate on our faces at night are becoming such simplified organisms due to their unusual lifestyles that they may soon become one with humans, according to new research findings.

Demodex folliculorum Penis

Image shows the unusually-positioned penis of a Demodex folliculorum mite. Credit: University of Reading

The mites are passed on during birth from mother to child and are carried by almost every human, with numbers peaking in adults as the pores grow larger. They measure around 0.3mm (0.012 inches) long, are found in the hair follicles on the face and nipples, including the eyelashes, and eat the sebum naturally released by cells in the pores. They become active at night and move between follicles looking to mate.

The first ever genome sequencing study of the D. folliculorum mite found that their isolated existence and resulting inbreeding is causing them to shed unnecessary genes and cells and move towards a transition from external parasites to internal symbionts.

Demodex folliculorum Anus

Microscope image of the posterior end of the anus of a Demodex folliculorum mite. The presence of an anus on this mite had been wrongly overlooked by some previously, but this study confirmed its presence. Credit: University of Reading

Dr. Alejandra Perotti, Associate Professor in Invertebrate Biology at the University of Reading, who co-led the research, said: “We found these mites have a different arrangement of body part genes to other similar species due to them adapting to a sheltered life inside pores. These changes to their DNA have resulted in some unusual body features and behaviors.”

The in-depth study of the Demodex folliculorum DNA revealed:

  • Due to their isolated existence, with no exposure to external threats, no competition to infest hosts, and no encounters with other mites with different genes, genetic reduction has caused them to become extremely simple organisms with tiny legs powered by just 3 single cell muscles. They survive with the minimum repertoire of proteins – the lowest number ever seen in this and related species.
  • This gene reduction is the reason for their nocturnal behavior too. The mites lack UV protection and have lost the gene that causes animals to be awakened by daylight. They have also been left unable to produce melatonin – a compound that makes small invertebrates active at night – however, they are able to fuel their all-night mating sessions using the melatonin secreted by human skin at dusk.
  • Their unique gene arrangement also results in the mites’ unusual mating habits. Their reproductive organs have moved anteriorly, and males have a penis that protrudes upwards from the front of their body meaning they have to position themselves underneath the female when mating, and copulate as they both cling onto the human hair.
  • One of their genes has inverted, giving them a particular arrangement of mouth appendages extra protruding for gathering food. This aids their survival at a young age.
  • The mites have many more cells at a young age compared to their adult stage. This counters the previous assumption that parasitic animals reduce their cell numbers early in development. The researchers argue this is the first step toward the mites becoming symbionts.
  • The lack of exposure to potential mates that could add new genes to their offspring may have set the mites on course for an evolutionary dead end, and potential extinction. This has been observed in bacteria living inside cells before, but never in an animal.
  • Some researchers had assumed the mites do not have an anus and therefore must accumulate all their feces through their lifetimes before releasing it when they die, causing skin inflammation. The new study, however, confirmed they do have anuses and so have been unfairly blamed for many skin conditions.


Demodex folliculorum mite under a microscope walking. Credit: University of Reading

The research was led by Bangor University and the University of Reading, in collaboration with the University of Valencia, University of Vienna, and National University of San Juan. It is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Dr. Henk Braig, co-lead author from Bangor University and the National University of San Juan, said: “Mites have been blamed for a lot of things. The long association with humans might suggest that they also could have simple but important beneficial roles, for example, in keeping the pores in our face unplugged.”

Reference: “Human follicular mites: Ectoparasites becoming symbionts” by Gilbert Smith, Alejandro Manzano Marín, Mariana Reyes-Prieto, Cátia Sofia Ribeiro Antunes, Victoria Ashworth, Obed Nanjul Goselle, Abdulhalem Abdulsamad A. Jan, Andrés Moya, Amparo Latorre, M. Alejandra Perotti and Henk R Braig, 21 June 2022, Molecular Biology and Evolution.
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msac125

103 Comments on "Microscopic Mites That Mate on Our Faces at Night May Soon Become One With Humans"

  1. this explains the strange itch on my face and eyebrows. now what can i do to exterminate the little driffters ?

  2. The earlier version I read yesterday was more amusing. They are repulsive, so humor lessens the sting. We have to accept we are hosts to a lot of grubby little parasites squatting on our premises, but it s still yucky.

  3. Nicholas Jones | June 23, 2022 at 6:13 pm | Reply

    they seem to have a beneficial function in eating sebum,thus keeping the pores clear of food that otherwise is available for consumption by such bacteria as staph aureus which causes acne and boils. That would make them a very desirable symbiont rather than a parasite.

  4. Could also now be a new candida worms from stomach overproduction and becoming drug resistant btw

  5. Yuck! I really didn’t need to know this!!!

  6. Brian Johnson | June 24, 2022 at 12:33 am | Reply

    I can imagine a very bad p**** film watching these weirdos f*** each other.

  7. I need to know what kind of chemically balanced topical cream can I put on to get rid of these things. Please tell us the cure because all of a sudden I feel them all over after reading this article

  8. Keith mother f in Gierlach do you got it ,,,!!!!!; | June 24, 2022 at 3:41 am | Reply

    Because the shots they are giving people for covert19 is this mite so now what happened when the hive evolves that before it couldn’t but now they just gave it what it needs to and now can probably host a people because what the hive really are or were was tissue replicators with the right 3 combo and network can and has tried to take over humans covert19:was a bad idea in the 80s and still is a bad idea today best chances to remove your hives is from16 ,39 years of age after can give you cancer , and organ failures might not be strong enough to handle such of a detachment

  9. Cassell zeller | June 24, 2022 at 4:01 am | Reply

    Is demodex cause of acne???

  10. Ceasngin4life?? | June 24, 2022 at 4:15 am | Reply

    Host me arse lol…hostage lol…

  11. Candida is a yeast…not a worm.

  12. Where do you find these journalists? A zoo? How do I get this trashy sight off my phone?

  13. William BARR | June 24, 2022 at 8:35 am | Reply

    Seems gut bacteria, and the bacteria in your appendix will not be the only symbotic critters we carry. Who knows what we will discover next??? It’s so awesome to know we are not alone!!!

  14. Mites are banging on my face and I can’t even get a call back..

  15. Elaine Snelling | June 24, 2022 at 10:16 am | Reply

    You must be joking!!! Worm’s on our faces??!! Mating even!
    I think you all need to rethink some of your articles you come up with!! 😱
    Question, can you feel them and do they itch?

  16. Believe it or not, this or um these are a fact… Study shows that they are more active and noticeable in your senior yrs or ppl with a low immune system. These tiny sex craved maggots have been around for many many and many yrs they are nothing new at all to the world, oh and LOL Covid vaccines has nor had nothing to do with these little maggots. So just keep your hygiene in check and don’t start picking at your face trying to see them you will end up looking like a Meth Head with open uglies all over your face. Peace out…

  17. Jason Raymond | June 24, 2022 at 4:05 pm | Reply

    So glad they have anuses!!!

  18. Yet many people are severely allergic and asthmatic to mites, but these types feces is supposed to be healing? Considering the article goes from who knew? To know it all in such short report, I’m not so convinced as a highly sensitive person that I’m just going to be unaffected.

    Women’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than a males, while perhaps these studies were only performed on males as typical. I have been having blocked pores, issues on my back and upper arms for years that have been called atopic excema- or of unknown origin.

    I have an allergen zip up bag over my mattress and wash my pillow and bed coverings frequently. I’m queasy about sitting on a chemical or dust laden couch or rug as I have dust mite allergies to their feces I was told. I’m highly doubtful this new mites feces is anymore healthful to my wellbeing.

  19. Crystal Tong | June 24, 2022 at 5:19 pm | Reply

    Nicholas Jones, thank you! You truly made me feel so much better. C:

  20. Wow, people are ignorant. On the gut bacteria thing, there’s a lot of traction on the concept that gut flora significantly impact mental health as they are responsible for metering many hormones that affect your brain. Aside from that… Life and all living things are disgusting and gross. There’s no aspect of anything possessing DNA that isn’t. Get used to it or stop being alive.

  21. They can cause mattering in your eyelashes. My suggestion is wash your bedding in hot water, changing it often, especially your pillow slip, and using something like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to wash your eyelashes and brows with warm water regularly. Otherwise, if you have a lot of problems with crusting, see a dermatologist. They do a demodex text to confirm. This article grosses me out, but I transcribed for a dermatologist for years so I’m not surprised. My comments are purely a layperson’s opinion.

  22. Humans have nothing better to do than to come up with anything for even a second of attention, or to have any excuse to have anything to say. Instead of figuring out what’s living on human faces how about figuring out a way to end all the cruelty happening every minute to all the children and animals who are innocent and helpless in hopes of any sort of saving! More posts like that might actually make a positive impact in this world if tried more often!

  23. I think this is sooooo gross but, it’s life. However, I agree with MacyH, find a solution for the children and animals that are being mistreated. They are innocent and helpless. Let’s come together and make a difference in the lives of those that are being mistreated. ✌

  24. That gives new meaning to “F*** Face” 🤪

  25. I think we need to STOP giving tax payer money to any public college study,Unless they are looking for a CURE for CANCER!

    • Cure:

      1. Avoid conventional medical treatment for *C*.
      2. Water Fast (Cancer cells cannot consume ketones; they must have simple sugars in order to live and reproduce. A person with an average BMI can water fast for several days. Cancer stem cells will die of starvation long before the person suffers any harm from water fasting.
      3. After the cancer stem cells have died, and tumors have shrunk, consume a vegan diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, ancient grains, and healthy fats like coconut, avocado, and olive oils. Avoid all sugar except fruit sugar in whole fruit only.

  26. Snacking on sebum? Cutibacterium acnes (prev. known as Propionibacterium acnes) is a major cause of acne and is often present in drops of sweat. Yay, microbiology!

  27. guy who cares about science | June 25, 2022 at 8:06 am | Reply

    Today I learned how completely ignorant and uneducated about science people can be. Many of these commenters have no concept of what research is, or why it is important. Or what false conspiracy theories are, for that matter.

    Yes these are real (if gross) facts,and yes this is a science article. I thought it was interesting and reasonably well written. Go back to school America, please!

  28. This is so awful 😣!! I want to know how to get rid of them permanently!!!

  29. “Please find a cure for cancer and find a way to save the animals and the innocents!”
    Yes, all scientists have the same areas of expertise. Please, PLEASE rub your 2 last remaining brain cells together to produce an actual coherent comment jfc

  30. Great. Even things living on my face are having more fun than I am.

  31. Teresa Wisniewski | June 25, 2022 at 10:52 am | Reply

    MacyH who commented on skiteckdaily. Ur a beautiful person, I can tell by Ur comment. Very good, spread Ur intelligent views.

  32. Dan LaCrosse | June 25, 2022 at 11:51 am | Reply

    Ew. The sublime joy of living.

  33. Most of you can call it what you want,but I can actually say that I have this problem,but not just dealing with dust mites add “mold mites” with the worms which happens anyway.
    I can also say it literally affects you and your self confidence because the sores bleed and release a clear sticky substance suddenly even with out touching them.
    By the way there not that focused on just the face but everywhere including the bottom of the feet/under fingernails or toe nails
    Just so you know I RENT and my landlord has simply said
    “Imagination” or “Hallucinations” plus telling the other tenant’s this as well
    Wish it was that, because the sores are embarrassing and painful, not to mention that first bite.

  34. Many of these comments are very unintelligent.

  35. Keith motherf……
    I never got vaccinated so that’s not it. I have been dealing with these little f****** for about 5 years now. It’s not a joke! Seeing is believing I guess!

  36. To those who think such research is a waste of money unless it leads to a cure for cancer, how do you know it’s not? Some of the oddest, or mundane, or bizarre studies lead to breakthroughs. Let the scientists do their work. This article is fascinating.

  37. Ivermectin kills them. It can be used topically, it is used against mites on humans with compromised immune systems such as those with HIV , healthy people shouldn’t worry too much about mites though.

  38. Actually these mites have more intelligence than some posters here.

  39. Embarrassed, it sounds like you might be dealing with more than mites. Sounds like Morgellons to me. I completely understand your reason for being “Embarrassed”, but you need not be. There are over 120 Morgellons groups on FB where you can gather great information on how to treat yourself when the medical community refuses to help.

  40. I could have gone my whole life not knowing this & still be considered a relatively intelligent person.

  41. Billy baggett | June 25, 2022 at 8:42 pm | Reply

    Thzts the biggest lie I ever heard. Im covered with thousands of what look like miges, but are actually, sn Archon oarasite…..Now called Reptillians, ysed ti be Mayans, im constantly harrasssed day & night…Theyrepitting it in food in stores. They want humans extinct…They laugh at me trying to tell my people, they believe were too stupid to unite… As God as my witness this is TRUE…….

  42. Sallie J Snider-Wilson | June 26, 2022 at 4:40 am | Reply

    I am no lab researcher, but in my humble uneducated opinion, I believe washing your bedding often and wearing oil at night on your face suffocates these little guys. Everything alive needs oxygen so they die off without it. I use a cold pressed organic caster oil to prevent wrinkles and it works really well. I do my eye lashes, eyebrows, and hair line plus my whole face. Sometimes I do this twice a day. There is no ridding them forever, but it helps a lot.

  43. Mike Randildo | June 26, 2022 at 5:19 am | Reply

    The more I learn about biology and what lives on and in the human body, the more I want to disinfect myself. Next time I go to lick a nipple, I have to think about these creatures and there vertical wieners and micro anus pooping all over. F off. Thanks for ruining sex once again!!

  44. Human beings are mites to the universe and we are so much nastier than any microorganism at least they aren’t tearing us up fighting political wars on the streets

  45. Bryan C McDonald 👋😎💨❤️🌻 | June 26, 2022 at 7:06 am | Reply

    Texas might fire ants and I’ll take a dump at once when they die and fire ants bite all at once when they fight

  46. Arcelia Ramirez | June 26, 2022 at 7:06 am | Reply

    going to make money now I am charging the mites🦠🦠🦠🦠 rent 👍

  47. Bryan C McDonald 👋😎💨❤️🌻 | June 26, 2022 at 7:11 am | Reply

    Like , Texas fire ants these “mites” all take a dump🕳️ at once when they die and TX fire ants bite all at once when they fight🔥

  48. Fascinating and enlightening!!!
    To the ignorant comments, I say: “You are right.”

  49. If they live outside of the body.. how could the immune system have any effect on these things??

  50. James Kilrain | June 26, 2022 at 12:01 pm | Reply

    Thanks a lot,for sharing this great news.We really needed to know.

  51. Implied consent | June 26, 2022 at 12:02 pm | Reply

    There is a sure way to exterminate them by removing the food source. It’s simple, they live on your face. At night take a rubber band and a plastic bag, place that over your face, held in place by the rubber band. This not only destroys their food source, but asphyxiates many of these parasites in the process. It’s cheap, and, Guaranteed to work every time. Simply Genius!

  52. These comments explain why the world is the way it is…sad to know stupidity supercedes intelligence.

  53. Will an article be done on the internal worms and parasites that most Americans have?

  54. Misty
    Morgellons are different
    Pretty sure I have both. I have mites they cause problems with my eyes also cause crusty crap around my nose.

  55. Don’t think I’m going for this one. That first picture looks more like a piece of raw fish with a pin bone sticking out of it than human skin.

  56. I used to clean my sheets every day just because I loved that feeling of getting into clean sheets, then I thought that it was probably a bit over the top, and decided to go for every 4 days. Regression- I’m gonna go back.

  57. Kathleen P Engel | June 26, 2022 at 4:38 pm | Reply

    That is so disgusting.

  58. Hydroclor is a fairly new product which contains hydrochlorous acid. It is very effective in controlling these bacteria, especially those that breed in your eyelashes.

  59. So what would be the result? Humites?

  60. Creepy crawly things are all over me and having sex and pooping on my face while I sleep. How disgusting. No wonder I feel like sh_t when I wake up every morning.

  61. What with these creepy-crawlies and dust-mites, etc.
    getting in bed w us and
    enjoying a *flesh and blood buffet*,
    we should at least look for a Silver Lining…

    First of all……..

    Well, one benefit is…..

    These could help with ….

    Fk.it

  62. My orphases itch even more now . Soak in 104 ° water for 40 min . After exiting the bath water apply a heavy layer of lotion everywhere. Leave on until iching is no longer ! Rise off in shower . Apply heavy layer of lotion and change sheets completely. Sweet dreams ! My personal remedy not recommending to anyone.

  63. Hmm…As I look out my window and watch the “dog mom” with a beast strapped to her chest while a mother walks her son on what looks like a leash I’m thinking those mites are doomed if they hang around the only mammals dumb enough to buy water when it literally falls from the sky 🤔
    My 2 cents…here’s a nickel keep the change 😉

  64. Let me tell you people something I’ve been dealing with this for 2 years driving me crazy it’s no joke they’re on my eyes my ears my nose my mouth my hair all over my body I’ve tried everything to get rid of these things and people say tea tree oil coconut oil and all kind of other stuff you name it I’ve tried it give me something that really works because I’m tired I just want to die I went to two dermatologists they don’t know what the hell they’re doing they said they can’t find anything they just they’re just to get paid for doing nothing I need to find somebody that knows what they’re doing can verify for me this is taking over my life and on top of that I have fibromyalgia chronic severe asthma which makes it even worse for having these things so this is the last thing I needed I just don’t want to be here no more tired tired tired tired and if people think when they say they feel something moving around all over their body or in the hair they’re not crazy

  65. I don’t even feel bad for yall.

  66. Brian Conner | June 27, 2022 at 9:25 am | Reply

    Who knows? Maybe they’ll teach us to love one another. Lol

  67. SHERRY L BORROR | June 27, 2022 at 1:28 pm | Reply

    Oh my God, I will never look at a dude with a beard in the same way..
    Never ever ever and I am so disappointed I saw this..

  68. Tea Tree Oil is your friend | June 27, 2022 at 2:35 pm | Reply

    Must be why Whoopi Golberg keeps her eyebrows shaven! Now mine are crawling ESH

  69. Bill Griffiths | June 27, 2022 at 3:32 pm | Reply

    I have no idea who wrote this headline, but I sincerely hope whoever did takes up freestyle rapping (if they don’t already). It’s amazing.

  70. HollyandSnoop | June 27, 2022 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    Those of us with unbearable Morgellons disease have known about this since the 18th C.
    HELLO and FU to Medical doctors who refused to acknowledge this.

  71. I said this years ago,My daughter and I were talking about the eyebrows and why you see the little things on them when you wake up. They say sleep I think not and I was right. This is so creepy and nasty. Don’t think about it is what Im telling myself.So they live inside pores so does that mean the cleaning of the pores is really these mites.Some people have been opening up their pores for so long and maybe that’s how the little buggers get in. I don’t know I’m not a doctor or scientist I just guessing.

  72. Oh, so that’s where morning eye crusties come from…

  73. Coconut and olive oil. I am leery of putting tea tree oil so close to my eyes. Shampoo with tea tree oil would be milder to use.

  74. E'z2daG'z baby! | June 27, 2022 at 8:11 pm | Reply

    I believe that Covid-19 is a sign of the weakening federal structure that’s a piece of mind of our sharing and not knowing know madder how devided we were all American true old English literature is depths of core thinking I’ll figure a salution

  75. To Ana Huertas: Hang inthere, don’t give up! Keep searching for answers and keep reaching out for successful help! Keep researching. Help is on its way. 7 years I’ve suffered, finally got the Right help (& relief!)for fibro. Psoriasis is another endeavor, but with hope- always have hope! About the article: Ooo and ewe! Discovery is fascinating! Science is absolutely necessary for progress AND conservation. We’d still be in the Dark Ages thinking that seeing a comet shoot across the sky meant the sky is falling. Anyone old enough to remember the last Earthly orbit of Haley’s comet? I say learn all (you) can…about everything. We’re all here for such a short time…

  76. Kiley Baricevic | June 27, 2022 at 10:33 pm | Reply

    So what about those people that cake on make up? Or if u get a sunburn…do they die?

  77. If you have any doubts on the information, please visit the CDC website. This is true.

    I

  78. Kelly Taylor | June 28, 2022 at 1:54 am | Reply

    Seems like knowing all the correct process toward the helping every method of playing helping coexisting with others seems problematic dysfunctional saving others helping definitely important safety restoration knowing others needs those failing to see all the full video seems strange not capable seeing extremely important details unaware of others full practices mever lose trading off balancing proper all off balancing to many areas necessity helping others understanding correct guidance without programming issues failing inadequacies falling off balance with natural order of personal defects detaches many areas of important varying safety restoration getting to away from every condition method every factor needed for our future growth development confidence rules out defeating behaviors when lack of all self awareness not aligned with advanced achievement honoring self improvement never fail all teachings for moving with flow guess knowing self most important asset losing self harming indulging inappropriate acquaintances never fail seeing others potential imperfection in perfection basics simple easiest tend to keep us moving empowered enrichment knowing importance of original ingenuity proceeding advancement all involved losing sight of higher standards offset most forsaken opinionated variation hindering all moments of each thought touch mongrul inappropriate complete data analysis seems baby mama drama dysfunctional never forget your problem solving lacking others with judging fail when altering changing seeing pure loses ability practicality y chromosome prropecy Metro sexual is polished clean merging techniques bridging perfection metropolitan city offers upscale vip example infrastructure streets of lakeland paid by my probation conditions infrastructure every aspect of interference altering changing corrupting for new false claim new fake seems all news offers plans of problems from offenders inflicting disease behavioral therapy for force never forget life experience caught losing consistency covering to cause world damage trama attack hate crime bullying detonating causing world disorder never talk to children nationally tainted blood on your hands largest blame game loss of manners never financial fraud other incript all files losing your ability decency never fall wrong never curse when weaving webs not made of silk forgetting self will loss of control side stepping all world chaos one world order modern medicine mad science not sensible accessing all social media all emails all computers frauding me for world disorder horrendous callous not you blame game stop attacking others doest help wrong healing stop touching pure

  79. George L Symons | June 28, 2022 at 7:18 am | Reply

    Been telling people for coming on two years now!!! It’s worse than they are telling you,by a damn site!!! They can call it what they want but it’s Collembola!!! They’ve been my worst nightmare 4×10 to the worst per second!!! 100% pure cedar oil is the answer you are looking for… Nothing gets rid of them permanently though!!! good 🤞

  80. Skin mite cream . Only thing that helps.

  81. JPaul Emerson | June 28, 2022 at 2:53 pm | Reply

    “Scientists Discover:Life Is Gross” And if you think pore mites are nasty, you should see the follicle mite menagerie living in your hair. Welcome to the jungle, baby!

  82. The mites lookin at my phone like “you finally found out😬”

  83. Nicholas Brewer | June 28, 2022 at 11:09 pm | Reply

    Ericcca I have the same issue. Psoriasis on my scalp and face with excema covering my legs and spots all over my upper back, arms kind of. It’s embarrassing and has left tons of marks over the years.

  84. Adom, the correct spelling is “supersede.”

  85. Kara Johnson | June 29, 2022 at 11:20 am | Reply

    You don’t have to be a “methhead” to feel crap in your face they have a illness and it shouldn’t be made fun of. I have stage 4 stomach cancer and my face has broken out terribly. Will I be considered a “cancer head” and made out of a joke? Help not hinder

  86. I am with MacyH! Also to add to her comment how about you evil so called scientist release ALL ANIMALS FROM YOUR LAB OF HORRORS!! USING THE EXCUSE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH ON POOR HELPLESS INNOCENT PRECIOUS ANIMALS FOR THE FAKE SAKE OF HUMANITY IS YOUR GREATEST LIE!

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