Demodex mites are those tiny little arachnids, Demodex folliculorum, and Demodex brevis, that live on your face and in your hair follicles. They are sometimes referred to as eyelash mites, but this can be misleading. The fact is that these mites can become ubiquitous on any part of the body that has hair. However, they are most frequently associated with infesting the human face where they cause issues including bacterial infections that trigger such things as rosacea and blepharitis. And yes, they do live in and on your eyebrows.
More About Eyebrow Mites
Demodex mites are also found in significant populations on the scalp and cheek. They are microscopic, so not usually detected visually, but if you have redness, irritation, itchiness, or swelling of the scalp, eyebrows or eyelids you may well have a mite infestation. You may feel them moving around on your eyelashes or eyebrows, especially when you first wake up in the morning. A dermatologist or eye care professional can confirm their presence by taking a skin scraping.
The fact is that most people have a population of demodex mites living on them. The mites D. folliculorum and D. brevis are only able to live on humans (other species have their own mite species). They have a life cycle of about 2 weeks and live their entire lives between the hair follicles on your skin and oil glands (sebaceous glands). These worm-like creatures have short legs and adults are less than ½ millimeter long. They are semi-transparent and have little scales on them that they use to attach to hair follicles. They eat skin cells and sebum, which is why they are so prolific on the face. They are also nocturnal, staying put during the day and under light and only moving around at night.
The Lifecycle of Eyebrow Mites
Adults mate on the top of the hair follicle which is close to the skin’s surface. Females then deposit up to 24 eggs in the sebaceous glands in the follicle. The hatchlings or larvae are born with 6 legs. In the week that it takes them to develop into adults, they grow their fourth pair. Adults only live for 4-6 days.
When they die they expel all of the waste in their bodies, which has built up over their entire life. When the population becomes too large this can mean a lot of waste released all at once, triggering an infection or an immune response. When the population is small, and in people that are not allergic to them, demodex may have a symbiotic relationship with humans in the same way that many bacteria that live on our skin do because they help to remove dead skin cells and extra oils. However, in some people, eyebrow mites go wrong – and most people do not feel good about having them on their faces.
Who Suffers Because of Eyebrow Mites?
People are not born with demodex mites, however newborn babies get them from their mothers and people get them when they are close to other people. Not every single individual has mites, but they do exist on people in every region of the world. As people get older they are more likely to have a population of mites on them. By the time you are 60, you have an 80%-100% chance of having demodex living in your eyebrows or eyelashes. Children who produce less sebum than older people have fewer mites. People who wear a lot of makeup also seem to have more mites than those who do not. (Source).
Bacillus is the type of bacteria that is released when eyebrow mites die. This can trigger inflammation in those with rosacea and can aggravate blepharitis. It can also cause acne outbreaks. There is research that shows a link between demodex outbreaks and immunity issues in people. It is important to realize that without treating both the skin or eye irritation caused by the eyebrow mites and getting the population of mites under control, you will likely continue to suffer.
Removing Eyebrow Mites
Cliradex is the best way to do this. Cliradex towelettes are specifically designed for the eyes, lashes, and brows and Cliradex Light foam cleanser can be used on the entire face. The natural eyelid cleanser is 100% vegan and gluten-free for safe and soothing results. Cliradex is also specifically formulated to clean away demodex mites.
Demodex mites are resistant to a wide range of antiseptic solutions and other traditional treatments, such as most eye drops and wipes. T4O, Tea tree oil extract has demonstrated to eliminate mite populations. Whole tea tree oil is not as effective as T4O, which is the main component in Cliradex, and the oil can be irritating when used near the eyes. T4O is not irritating in the concentration that is found in this product.