'Face Mites' Live in Your Pores, Eat Your Grease and Mate on Your Face While You Sleep


'Face Mites' Live in Your Pores, Eat Your Grease and Mate on Your Face While You Sleep
Don't freak out, but you probably have a few dozen arachnids grinding up on the tiny shafts of hair lodged inside your face, quietly gorging themselves on your natural oils.

OK, you can freak out if you want. But there's nothing wrong with you. These tick-like arachnids are known as face mites (in the genus Demodex) and, according to a skin-tingling new video created by the folks at KQED San Francisco, they live a peaceful life buried in the facial pores of most human adults. (The mites are not found on babies, and they are thought to be transmitted through motherly contact.)
These creepy-crawlies are eight-legged, mostly transparent and microscopic in size, measuring about 0.01 inches (0.3 millimeters) apiece, according to an NPR article accompanying the new video. They live near the roots of facial hair follicles on both men and women, hidden away inside your pores.

What's the draw of these cramped living quarters? Consider it easy access to an all-you-can-slurp buffet of sebum — the waxy oil your face excretes to keep hydrated. Sebum is produced by glands tucked inside your pores, near the bottom of your hair follicles; Demodex mites seek out this greasy meal ticket by burrowing face-first into those pores, where they sleep by day. At night, when you're asleep, they crawl onto the surface of your skin to mate. That's right — there's a nightly mite party on your face, and you're not invited.

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