Fair warning: if you’re squeamish, don’t read on.

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the face that causes red skin, and may also cause acne, visible blood vessels, and irritation. People with Rosacea are usually aware of various “triggers” which can cause the inflammation to worsen, but scientists may have found an underlying cause that affects many if not all Rosacea sufferers.

Face mites (Demodex folliculorum). People with Rosacea have more than others. Invisible to the naked eye, these mites live in your pores during the day and scurry across your face at night to mate.

With no sphincter, all of the waste/bacteria of the mites is released at death—if they die during the day, that bacteria is in your pores.

Most people have immune systems that can handle cleaning up after the harmless mites (they aren’t classified parasites since they aren’t considered harmful), but some people have a combination of factors that lead to an increased amount, overwhelming the immune system and causing inflammation/rosacea.

Age can also be a factor in Rosacea, and in fact it’s onset is usually later in life. Since the immune system weakens with age, having a strong immune system may help fend off the face mites.

The mites feed on dead skin cells and the sebum produced by your glands—certain diets may make sebum more appetizing to the mites, so changing to a Rosacea diet (low in fat) may help. Washing morning and evening with an exfoliant can also make your face a less hospitable place.

Heat, alcohol, and spicy foods are triggers for some people. Since Rosacea is triggered by the deaths of the mites, one may suppose that some Rosacea triggers may actually have a long term benefit, though inflammation from the death of the mites (and worsened Rosacea) occurs in the short term.

(In dogs, a severe infestation of Demodex folliculorum can be a cause of mange—humans rarely experience as severe of an infection).

Did you make it through that? Any reactions to thinking about face mites?


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