If you’re squeamish about bugs, you ‘mite’ want to skip this post—because you’re about to find out that as you read, there are likely thousands of minute creatures crawling and mating all over your face.
Face mites are “smaller than a grain of sand,” according to Tech Insider, and belong to the arachnid family. And their favorite pastime is having sex on human faces, only to crawl deep into pores and lay their eggs.
Sustaining themselves on skin cells and oil, face mites are believed to have lived on humans for more than 200,000 years, with current studies suggesting “practically every adult on the planet has thousands of them” today.
You can probably thank your parents for beginning the colony of mites currently scurrying around your face, as the tiny critters are often transferred to babies after birth, and they get to work multiplying quickly.
After engaging in procreative activities, the Demodex folliculorum will move to a hair follicle to lay its egg, whereas the species Demodex brevis prefers the incubation of a sebaceous gland. Either way, you will end up with a new generation of face mites, slurping up the oil on your skin.
And these little creepy crawlies get to work quickly on producing yet another generation of mites, Tech Insider noted. In less than two weeks, they will hatch, mate, and die—adding to the growing pile of dead face mites clogging up your pores.
But not to worry. For most people, playing host to face mites causes no concern; however, those with immune system issues might find them to be more of a nuisance.
Among those whose immune systems are impaired, along with those suffering from the skin condition rosacea, face mite populations can multiply out of control. Compared to people without such ailments, these sufferers are found to have “ten times the normal amount” of face mites per square centimeter.
But it’s not all bad, icky news when it comes to face mites. Scientists have been able to study them in order to learn about human ancestry, as the critters have “evolved into distinct lineages in different geographic regions.”