Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers -Factoid #2

When Ol’ Blue Eyes sang, ” Ive got you under my skin”, I am sure he was NOT talking about this:

Demodex Mite

However, this little critter is the subject of today’s factoid.

Do bugs live in eyelashes?

Most people don’t like the idea that bugs can live on their skin and hair. However, the truth is that many bugs do, and they live with us in harmony, most of the time. By the time we reach late adulthood, most of us have wiggly, microscopic, wormlike mites called demodex mites living in the roots of our eyelashes. If you pull out one of your eyelashes and examine it under a strong magnifying glass, or better, a microscope, there is a good chance you will see one of these tiny mites clinging to the base of the lash. They can also live in our skin pores and the hair follicles on our face, such as the eyebrows.

These mites are cigar shaped, a third of a millimeter (a tiny fraction of an inch) long, and have eight stubby little legs situated at the front of their long, so they waddle along fairly slowly. When one of these mites reaches a hair, it burrows headfirst down into the follicle. Their bodies are layered with scales, which help to anchor them into the follicle, and their needlelike mouths eat dead skin and oil that is produced by the skin. Fortunately, although the mites eat, they don’t actually poo in the follicles.

An individual female can lay a number of eggs in a single follicle. When mature, the mites leave the follicle, mate, and find a new follicle into which they lay their eggs. Each mite can live for several weeks, and mites can be transferred between humans if two people’s hair, eyebrows, or the sebacceous glands on their noses come into close contact.

Mites living on our eyelashes are usually quite harmless, and most people are totally unaware of the little squatters living in their hair follicles. However, if too many accumulate in a single hair follicle, they can cause itching, certain skin disorders, or an eyelash to fall out. As many as twenty-five eyelash mites have been found huddled together in a single follicle! There are some great pictures of these mites in a variety of poses on the Internet.

Okay, now I’m itching like crazy!

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

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20 Responses

  1. Oh gosh, that does make you want to itch like crazy. I’d just heard about something like this recently…bugs living on your eyelashes. So creepy to think about!!!
    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com
    all things entertainment

  2. Excuse me. I have to go bleach my eyebrows. Really, though, it probably helps that they eat dead skin and oil. Someone could market the little buggers as some sort of beauty product and become ultra-rich. Wanna partner up?

  3. EWWWWW!!!! I did not need to know that. This fact is classified in the ‘fine for the kids to know but NOT share with mom!’ category. EWWWWW!!!

  4. Jessica, that’s a great idea! We could sell it as a packaged deal with the skin “creme” suggested yesterday ;-)

  5. I don’t even want to think about this.

  6. I heard this maybe 11 years ago in junior high or something and never never forgot it! Creep central!

  7. mmm. parasites.
    gotta love em.

  8. Hey! I’ve tagged you for a book buzz meme…click here to read my post.

  9. AAAAAAHHHHH! OK, that was definitely Too Much Information! I need to go lie down now!

  10. I laughed so hard when I got to the end and read your comment about itching….I didn’t even realize it, but I WAS scratching all over my head! Interesting information, but definitely gross.

  11. Oh, that’s gross, especially the picture! I knew they existed, but this was more detail than I anticipated, LOL! Especially how I came across this post while eating earlier – I had to quickly scroll past to repress my instant nausea and I’ve only returned now!

  12. As long as they don’t bother me, I’d rather not think of it :P
    I wonder if they like eyeliner and mascara… hmmm..

  13. This book might be a good torture device for parents to use….

  14. Such an icky thought, but as long as I can’t see a bug I’m okay :)

  15. I guess as long as they are “invisible” and live in harmony with us, they’re not so bad.

  16. that is soooo weird!!! i really didn’t know this now i’m kinda thinking about plucking an eyebrow and looking at it under a microscope…now where to find one hmm..

  17. wow i am ichy now! it just proves- we are never alone.it sorta freakes u out too
    i also read about dust mites.did u know that ur bed is home to over 2 billion dust mites! ugg.thinking about it gives me the heby jebys!

  18. It a nice site collecting all information about eyebrow & Eyelash Cosmetic.
    Beauty is more important for every women so i m care about my eyes.
    Thanks for your time to post this article.

  19. Thanks for such an important articles about Anti Aging. This is a very needed because my friend sis is suffering from anti aging and i want to help her.
    so please guide me.

  20. If you ever want to see a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this post for four from five. Detailed info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed pieces. Thanks, anyway!

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