If you are eating, I don’t recommend reading on.
You most likely have mites colonizing your face. It’s true. There are two species living on humans: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, usually just called eyelash mites. They are most likely wiggling around in your pores right now.
A new study just published in the journal PLoS ONE on Aug 27 found that in a small sample of 29 people they sampled, 100% of those over 18 had mite DNA on their face (for 18 year olds, the number drops to 70%). Only 14% of the people had mites that were visible under the microscope.
The study also suggests that these mites are transferred from mother to child while breastfeeding, since they are frequently found on nipple tissue as well. Gross. That’s probably not the only way they are transferred, though, since younger adults had a lower incidence of mites.
These animals also infest our dogs.
I know, it’s horrible. But the good news is these mites aren’t harmful normally.
Here’s some more gross facts about them you probably don’t want to know either, from a post last year in Not Exactly Rocket Science by Ed Yong:
— They can’t poop, so they just fill with feces until they explode all over your face.
— They crawl out of your pores in the middle of the night to have sex on your face.
— They are closely related to spiders.
— They lay eggs in your pores.
— Almost everyone has them, and we get them from other people.
— They were probably the first invertebrates on the moon. Since almost everyone has them, the moonwalkers probably did as well.
— They live in hair follicles, especially the eyelashes. They spend most of their time buried head-down in these follicles.
— They aren’t just on your face. They have been found in and on the ear canal, nipple, groin, chest, forearm, penis, and butt too.
— They grasp on to you with a clawed “palpus” while they feast on your face cells and oils.
— They take advantage of your weakened defenses when you are stressed or sick: Their numbers increase when we are stressed.
Recent studies have suggested that these mites, and the bacteria they spew out when they explode, could be the cause of rosacea: It seems to be an inflammatory reaction to the bacteria and/or the mites that causes the reddened skin condition. They have also been linked to acne and inflammation of the eyelids.
I’m going to go re-evaluate my life now.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.