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Demodex Folliculorum: Symptoms, causes and treatments

What Is Demodex Folliculorum?

Whta is Demodex Folliculorum?

Demodex folliculorum, also known as demodicosis, is an infestation of a type of mite called Demodex folliculorum. These mites live in your hair follicles and are naturally present on your skin.

However, if you have more than the typical number of these mites (more than 10 per cent of the population has them), you may experience problems with acne, itching or inflammation, as well as bacterial and fungal infections caused by the mites’ waste products.


It may look like a bug, but it’s actually microscopic and can only be seen through a microscope. Demodex mites are oval shaped and measure between 0.2 to 0.4 mm in length. The demodex folliculorum is gray in color while its cousin, Demodex Brevis, is dark brown. Both reside within hair follicles and feed on sebum produced by your sebaceous glands found at each hair follicle.

These mites are present on all humans, but scientists aren’t sure whether their purpose is to benefit us or harm us. Some believe that Demodex plays a role in immune system function, while others believe that they cause skin inflammation and rosacea.

Regardless of their true role, it’s important to keep Demodex under control because an overabundance can cause problems.


Symptoms of Demodex Folliculorum are often similar to those caused by other skin conditions, such as rosacea and acne. If you suspect that you have an overabundance of Demodex mites, consider these symptoms.


Demodex Folliculorum treatment consists of managing its symptoms. A doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal medication to treat demodicosis, but it’s unlikely that you have a severe case.

It’s more likely that your overabundance of mites is causing inflammation and irritation. Try some natural home remedies to help manage your symptoms and bring relief from itching, redness, flaking, or swelling. Here are three options:

It’s easy to dismiss small, moving creatures as harmless pests, but it’s always good to know what you’re dealing with. If your Demodex mites begin to cause skin problems, talk to your doctor about treatment options that are right for you. In most cases, keeping them under control will be an issue of managing symptoms and making adjustments in your routine or diet.

In most cases, Demodex mites are harmless and help keep your skin clean by feeding on excess oils. They’re so small that you may not even notice their presence. But if they begin to cause problems, it’s a good idea to know what causes them and how to treat demodicosis if it becomes necessary. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with them alone.

If you have more questions about Demodex or if you’re ready to learn more about demodicosis, talk to your doctor. He or she can help determine whether your symptoms are caused by Demodex mites and what, if any, treatment options might be right for you. You may also want to consider a visit with a dermatologist.

Now; you must have understood that what is Demodex Folliculorum. Let’s know how to prevent Demodex Folliculorum it if they become problematic.


Prevention of D. Folliculorum may include:

1. Wash your face with a mild facial cleanser, preferably an organic product, once or twice a day. Your goal is to keep your skin clean and oil-free. Use a makeup remover if you wear cosmetics, as both can contain ingredients that increase Demodex mites’ ability to thrive on your skin. You can also use tea tree oil or lavender oil (if using essential oils on your face, be sure to dilute them first) to remove excess oil and bacteria from your pores.

2. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo one or two times per week, to remove any oils and dead skin cells that might be living on your scalp. Shampoos that contain sulfur are great for killing off Demodex mites in addition to other types of bacteria and germs, like sebum acne-causing P. acnes and Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Look for shampoos containing two percent salicylic acid, as well as tea tree oil and/or lavender oil.

3. Use a humidifier in your home to keep your skin from drying out. Dry air can worsen skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis and eczema. Using a humidifier is especially important at night while you sleep, as it will keep moisture in your bedroom and help prevent skin inflammation or infection.

4. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis or dandruff, check for signs of an underlying skin condition. These conditions can cause your sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, which in turn might attract mites that like oil-filled environments. Sebum buildup on your skin can also irritate and inflame your pores, making them a prime breeding ground for Demodex mites.

5. Avoid touching your face during sleep, and try to wake up a few minutes earlier in order to wash your face, brush your teeth and comb your hair. This will help you stay clean and prevent an excess buildup of oil that could attract Demodex mites. If you absolutely cannot get up earlier than usual, at least be sure to wash your face before going to bed at night.

6. Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water. Avoid using hand lotion, as it can attract Demodex mites. If you use hand sanitizer, look for one that contains tea tree oil, which will kill mites on contact. Be careful about what products you choose to use on your face or body. Pesticides, other chemicals and some ingredients in cosmetics can make your skin more vulnerable to a mite infestation.

7. Do not share towels, pillows or other items that come into contact with your face with others. These items might harbor Demodex mites from someone else’s body and cause an infestation in your own home. And you certainly wouldn’t want to spread them around town, would you?

8. Vacuum your carpets, rugs and upholstery on a regular basis to remove dead skin cells and sebum that might be attracting mites. Hire someone to professionally clean your home at least once per month as well to eliminate any dust, dirt or other debris that could harbor mites. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck up any dust and debris in hard-to-reach areas of your carpeting, including under beds and couches.

9. Take a hot shower before going to bed. The heat will kill any mites on your skin and also prevent them from breeding. If you have dry or sensitive skin, use a non-soap cleanser instead of regular soap, as some soaps can irritate your skin and make it more susceptible to mite infestation. You may want to use a brush or loofah sponge that isn’t shared with anyone else in your home.

10. Wash your bedding, including your mattress and pillow, on a regular basis. This can help prevent mites from breeding in your bedroom. You may want to wash sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water with a detergent containing active oxygen bleach, which will kill any Demodex mites living on them.

11. Scrub your shower and bathroom tiles and grout with a dilute bleach solution to kill any mites that might be lurking in them. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth onto your shower floor or use a shower spray that contains tea tree oil, which will help kill any mites living in or around your bathroom.

12. Wash your towels frequently in hot water, as they can harbor mites. Store them in a dry location to prevent re-infestation. Try washing your pillowcase every other day and change your sheets twice per week, as mites are more likely to breed on dirty laundry. If you have an infestation of Demodex mites, you may want to consider using hypoallergenic linens instead of regular cotton ones.

How to get rid of Demodex if you already have it?

The first step to getting rid of Demodex is finding out if you have it. The easiest way to do that is to see a dermatologist, who can scrape some skin from your face and examine it under a microscope.

If you do have Demodex, your doctor will probably prescribe a topical cream or lotion to treat it — but if you take these too long or use them improperly, they can actually cause more harm than good.

The best way to get rid of Demodex is to remove your source. This can be difficult, since it’s often a side effect of other skin conditions, like rosacea or eczema. But if you follow your doctor’s advice and stick with a treatment plan, you should notice improvements within four to six weeks.

It’s hard to know if you have Demodex until you see a doctor. These little bugs don’t always cause symptoms, but if you notice any changes to your skin, it might be worth getting checked out.

And remember: If you do have Demodex, no matter how bad it is or how long you’ve had it, there are treatments that can help eliminate them. You don’t have to live with them forever!


A mite called Demodex folliculorum is one of three species of microscopic parasites known to exist in or on human skin. Mites in general are arachnids, which means they’re related to spiders and ticks, and D. folliculorum has been linked to a range of skin conditions, including rosacea and acne.

D. folliculorum spends its entire life cycle in or on human skin, and is present even when you don’t suffer from any symptoms. These mites live in hair follicles, particularly in pores around your face and neck. In fact, it’s estimated that between 50 percent and 90 percent of adults have these mites on their skin at any given time.

The good news is that D. Folliculorum rarely cause health problems for healthy individuals, although people with weakened immune systems may be at greater risk of an infection if these mites are present in large numbers. If you’re having a medical issue that isn’t improving with over-the-counter medications, you may want to talk to your doctor about visiting a dermatologist.

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