Article posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 2:31pm

“Mites are probably crawling all over your face” is the title of an article that appeared in a popular science magazine. The culprits are eight-legged animals related to spiders and ticks named Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. Measuring 3-4 mm in length, the tiny creatures typically wriggle into people’s skin pores and hair follicles, where they feed on pieces of dead skin and oily secretions…and have sex. Recently scientists gently collected skin scrapings from the noses and cheeks of 29 people and analyzed the material for mite DNA. Except for a couple of 18-year-old subjects, traces of mite infestation were found in the other 27 participants. Other studies have suggested that most people, at some point in their lives, have skin mites nesting and reproducing in their pores and hair follicles. Out of sight out of mind? (Science News, Oct. 18, 2014; Thoemmes et al, PLOS ONE, Aug. 2014; other sources)