Talk about creepy! You may think your morning shower did its job, but odds are a bunch of microscopic mites that are crawling on your face and living in your pores at this very moment.
In fact, new research suggests that a specific genus of these tiny parasitic creatures called Demodex are way more common on the faces of human adults than previously thought.
The surprise is that these mites seem to be on nearly all or even all adults, even though they are rare or maybe even entirely absent on younger people,” study co-author Dr. Rob Dunn, a biologist at North Carolina State University.
It’s like having friends with you all the time. They’re actually pretty cute. With their eight little legs, they look like they’re almost swimming through the oil,” said Megan Thoemmes, one of the team that published the research.
The oil in question is sebum, which is produced by your sebaceous glands to lubricate and waterproof your skin. Scientists have long known about Demodex mites but it was thought that they affected only a small number of people. However, in the experiments behind the research DNA from the mites was found in every one of 29 adults tested.
Follow-up tests on more adults also produced the 100 percent detection rate. Children are much less likely to have the mites. The two types – Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis – are sometimes referred to as ‘eyelash mites’. They have been linked to the skin disorder rosacea but Thoemmes’ team at North Carolina State University is using the mites to explore historical population migration.
For their study, the researchers scraped a metal spatula along the noses and cheeks of 253 men and women to collect samples of their faces’ microscopic ecosystem. Then the researchers extracted DNA from the sebum – the oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands – of another group of 19 adults.
What did the researchers find? Mites were visible in only 14 percent of the scraped skin samples, but DNA from the mites was spotted in all of the 19 adults. Hence, the finding certainly shows that mites are even more ubiquitous than scientists thought. But that’s just the beginning.
This research can help us tell a compelling story of our own human history. The genetic diversity and structure we are seeing in the Demodex mites can help us to better understand… how human populations have radiated around the world, ” said Thoemmes.
via Mirror Co