These tiny freaks are rooting on your face right now

science 13/11/2017

Right now, there's a pretty good chance microscopic mites are getting it on, right on your face.

recent column by National Geographic writer Liz Langley has brought the internet's attention to the one of the less-glamorous aspects of being human - that we're each host to trillions of creatures, not all of which we want to think about. Ever.

In this case, it's demodex mites - tiny creatures that look-half mole, half-worm and all-horror, which a 2014 study found were present on virtually all of our faces.

"We are the Earth on which they are born and die - particularly on our faces and eyelashes," wrote Ms Langley.

The study, conducted at North Carolina University, found either living examples or DNA belonging to two species of demodex in every single adult they tested.

One species inhabits the pores of our skin, the other our eyelash follicles. They're born there, reproduce there, and die there.

There's still a mystery however as to how they got there.

"Little is known about the transmission of mites among humans," the study reads.

"Recent studies find that many symbiotic microbes are passed directly from mother to offspring during breast-feeding or during birth (especially if birth is vaginal), and dogs acquire their Demodex mites as nursing pups. In light of this, the same means of mite transmission seems possible in humans, supported by the fact that in one study, Demodex mites were found in 77 percent of nipple tissue from mastectomies."

Another possibility is man's best friend is responsible, the mites making the jump from wolves to humans as domestication got underway thousands of years ago.

Either way, it's not something any of us want to think about. Sorry.

But at least, looking like they've emerged from a Guillermo del Toro movie, they're not dangerous.

"These tiny arachnids aren't harmful - except perhaps to your dreams," wrote Ms Langley.