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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Hey you! You've got millions of mites crawling on your face! Right now!

IANS  New York, August 30, 2014
First Published: 17:22 IST(30/8/2014) | Last Updated: 17:35 IST(30/8/2014)

Are you aware that your face is brimming with living mites that feed on the oil our skin secretes and hide in tiny hair follicles? And no, they are not pooping on you as they store up all the excreta until they die!

A group of scientists led by Megan Thoemmes and Rob Dunn from North Carolina State University has found that almost all Americans over age 18 appear to host at least one mite species, suggesting that these mites may be universal associates of adult humans.

Also read: Sorry, clean freaks, we travel with our own germs

After death, these mites are released onto the surface of your skin and their DNA and waste joins the oily layer keeping your epidermis moisturised, researchers noted.

There are more than 48,000 species of mites and two of those live on human faces - Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis.

During the study, researchers recruited 253 volunteers and analysed mites on them. Thoemmes checked for mite DNA in 19 adults and found it on all of them. Thoemmes also sampled 10 young adults aged 18 and found Demodex DNA on 70% of them.

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The team also compared their mite DNA to sequences from other parts of the world. They found that D follicorum does not have a lot of genetic diversity. D brevis, on the other hand, is much more diverse and a single face can house many different lineages.

The findings appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.


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