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Demodex and Rosacea: A Haunting Tale

Oct-15-demodex-headerRosacea is an uncomfortable illness. It’s an irritation or inflammation of the skin on our face, that causes a redness.  At first it might seem like nothing more than a heavy blush that comes and goes, but in time rosacea can build into a blotchy, sensitive, and embarrassing condition that is very difficult to live with. Papules and pustules develop along with swelling, and when left unchecked these symptoms can lead to extensive scarring.  Another rarer form of rosacea will even affect the eyes, and is called “ocular rosacea”.

So what causes rosacea? Nobody really knows definitively. In all likelihood there are a number of factors both external and internal that govern the reactions of our skin… but if you were to ask around, there are more than a few opinions available.

Demodex: The Worm That Lives in Your Face

There are two types of demodex that live on humans. Demodex brevis, and demodex folliculorum. These are tiny mites that find living spaces inside human hair follicles (in the case of demodex folliculorum), or inside the sebaceous glands under our skin (in the case of demodex brevis).

Now I’m not saying this to try to scare you, but you probably have a case of demodex mites already. In studies that have been conducted on the demodex mite, up to 70% of youth (up to age 18) have tested positive for the mites. While an incredible 100% of adults tested positive.

Granted, the sample sizes have not been large enough or varied enough by region (the study I reference here was performed in North Carolina of the USA) to accurately tell if these rules apply to all of us, but demodex mites are not limited by region. They are everywhere. Anywhere they can find a home.

Why Demodex Isn’t Suspicious

It’s hard to trust a worm, but if you ask your doctor about demodex mites, they will explain to you that a demodex worm is actually not a parasite. A parasite attaches to the host, and lives off the host, while causing harm to the host.  Demodex isn’t like this. Not really.

Instead, a demodex mite is referred to as a commensal. It derives its food and shelter from us, but it causes no harm on its own.

So there you go. A lone demodex mite can never hurt you… but here’s the thing. They’re almost never alone.

Why Demodex is Actually Really Suspicious

When humans begin to encounter health issues, their immune system is thrown into a fight that can be exhausting. Fighting off colds and flus is tough. Fighting off parasites or other invaders can be just as hard. Even fighting off an immunization (typically an already dead virus) can be rough on the immune system. And when our immune system is thrown out of balance, the demodex mite has an easier time multiplying.

What began as a simple commensal relationship between a harmless face bug and its hapless host, becomes a full blown infestation of nightmarish proportions.  An infestation like this is classified by dermatologists as “demodecidosis”.  Guess what the symptoms are.  You guessed it: Redness, swelling, papules and pustules that can lead to scarring when left unchecked. Sounds an awful lot like rosacea.

Rosacea and Demodecidosis

Despite the similarity, rosacea and demodecidosis are not the same problem. They simply look similar to one another.  Because of their similarity, there have been many cases of demodecidosis misdiagnosed as rosacea. As doctors have studied rosacea patients, a direct link to the demodex mite has never been conclusively proven. Remember: everyone already has those mites. To say that they cause rosacea all by themselves is troublesome, because not all of us suffer from rosacea.

Steps to Keep Your Face Safe

Here are a few steps you can take to limit the spread of demodex mites on your skin.

  • Change your pillowcase. Do that today, and then once a week hereafter.
  • Use a cleansing toner as part of your daily skin routine.
  • Drink your water with lemon. Lemon is packed with immune boosting properties.

If you’re already a sufferer of Rosacea, I highly recommend getting in touch with us directly. Mary Rostoplasc has helped so many to find relief for their symptoms by treating both the outside of the skin, and the inside of the body. Lotions for the outside. A healthy diet for the inside. It works.

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