Did you know thousands of mites live on your face?

Research shows tiny creatures called Demodex folliculorum feed on sebum excreted by our pores might soon go extinct

Web Desk
Representational image. — Unsplash
Representational image. — Unsplash

Most people are probably clueless that thousands of tiny mites live a secret life on our faces. The micro-organisms called Demodex folliculorum, however, are totally harmless as they feed on the sebum naturally secreted by our skin cells through the pores, The Guardian reported.

Roughly 90% of people carry these mites, most abundantly in the wings of the nose, the forehead, the ear canal, and nipples as well.

Their existence could date back to early life due to the likelihood of being transferred through mothers during birth or breastfeeding.

Dr Henk Braig from Bangor University and the National University of San Juan in Argentina led the first-ever genome sequencing study of D folliculorum, showing that these micro creatures are entirely dependent on us to live.

According to the researcher, these mites could have a beneficial role in preventing the pores on our skin from being clogged.

The genome sequencing of D folliculorum — collected from a person's nose and forehead — revealed that their dependence on humans is likely to cause them to lose genes.

Since there is no chance of gaining new genes, their isolated existence and resulting in breeding may ultimately be leading the mites to extinction.

One may wonder, what effect would these innocuous mites going extinct would have on us? Here is the answer:

“They [D folliculorum] are associated with healthy skin, so if we lose them you could face problems with your skin,” BBC quoted research paper's co-author, Dr Alejandra Perotti, from the University of Reading as saying.