144 points by rntn
6 days ago
Just yesterday I was amazed when I discovered that there are animals(also mites) so small that they could live in a trachea of a bee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acarapis_woodi https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ad/Acarapis...
>They become active at night and move between follicles looking to mate.
Clearly, as good a reason as any to shower in the morning instead of the evening.
As the article explains, the mites can no longer produce melanin to support a day-night cycle and instead rely on the melanin the human produces at dusk, which means by the time morning comes they have probably already returned to the pores. So if, for some odd reason, you wanted to reduce the populations of this symbiotic organism then you would want to climb in bed, relax for a few minutes, then hop out and shower.
Note that these mites (Demodex folliculorum) are associated with seborrhoeic dermatitis and rosacea.
And can be easily killed with topical ivermectin prescribed by a doctor.
I used it - it works great!
Makes sense, I've heard it's a hell of an anti-parasitic drug.
The article mentions they have been "unfairly blamed for many skin conditions".
That sentence stood out to me, and it's unclear if they mean "shouldn't be blamed for these conditions at all" or "are responsible for some skin conditions, but are unfairly blamed for others".
Huh, so if they have a beneficial effect I wonder what happens if you disrupt their lifecycle. Are they, for instance, sensitive to certain cleansing compounds, etc.
I have a problem with a compromised immune system that lets the population of these mites get out of hand. It results in red, patchy skin on my face. This was an embarrassing problem for years before finding out the root cause. Now a few times a week I rinse my face in red vinegar, which has totally stopped the problem.
I wonder if such a disruption is the reason why some people seem to be excessively prone to blackheads, like yours truly for instance, my nose looks like a strawberry up close.
Mine too but I never wash my face with anything but water.
When I wash my face with soap by accident, I usually get a breakout of spots and have to use acnecide. Always figured it was due to killing the mites.
We need to stop lathering ourselves up with soap all the time. Like mites, we have a community living on our skin, our microbiome and soap decimates that community that helps us
Does it though? As long as the soap isn't antibacterial, it shouldn't exterminate everything.
> As long as the soap isn't antibacterial, it shouldn't exterminate everything.
All soap is antibacterial.
This is true. Soap's purpose is to literally break down the cell walls of bacteria, some are more resistant so antibacterials are needed depending on the constituents of the cell wall
These aren't bacteria though, they are animals. It's unclear whether antibacterial soap has much of a detrimental effect on them at all.
Here's how to get them off your face: https://youtu.be/-C1icoe40M8
To save other people time:
The video shows how to get some of them off your face if you want to study them. Not how to get rid of them permanently, or even temporarily.
As a totally unrelated aside, would one be able to express that distinction using "of" versus "off"?
Off, as in take off your clothes or turn a light switch off. It’s means separation or disconnection.
Of shows a relationship. The Queen of the UK. Get rid of the mites on my face!
Though note that etymologically "of" is a derivative of "off". There was no need for a preposition "of" historically because the idea was expressed by declining a noun into the genitive case. But as the Romance languages developed from Latin, the case system largely died out and the Latin preposition de radically shifted its meaning to the current meaning of "of".
Romance de was translated into English as off because that is the appropriate translation of Latin (but not Romance) de. And, the senses being unrelated, of diverged from off.
 Actually, the conventional translation my Latin instruction used for de as a verbal prefix was "down from". (As in "descend".) As a preposition it has a few different uses, including "off", "down from", and "about" (as in "what's that book about?"). "From" more generally would be e or ex, but "down from" gets its own preposition.
English has too many words thanks to being ruled by the French. I think English has 170,000 vs French having almost 60,000.
For your point , I did like de when I studied Spanish in school.
I would use the preposition 'from' thus: "how to get some mites from your face".
This construction makes it clear that we're taking some mites, presumably to do something with them, rather than trying to render the face mite-free.
You could use all the words: "get some from off of your face"
Noting of course that “off of” is mostly an American-English construction (although it does also pop up in some of the more ‘working class’ British dialects like cockney).
I guess here you could use “get them from your face”
"From" would make more sense.
But if they're becoming symbionts does the 'symbiont' part just mean that they can't live without the other?
I was under a belief that in a symbiotic relationship both parties benefit for the relationship, but I don't see and fail to find what humans gain from this relationship.
If anyone knows please do share!
The biological term "symbiosis", by itself, in the strict sense, doesn't imply a benefit for both parties, it just describes a persistent and physically close association between two species. Hence parasitism or commensalism are also forms of symbiosis and so are associations which are not obligate, but facultative (both bionts can live without the other, however prevalent the association). "Obligate symbiotic mutualism" is the category for what you're describing. "Endosymbiosis" implies such an integrated relationship that it is at least obligate for the endosymbiont. In this human-mite case there are various claims of benefits and drawbacks to humans from the relationship, and the symbiosis is certainly already obligate for the mites.
Why, we gain lots of little friends!
I did read something about how they might help with unblocking our pores, but who knows.
The article calls it out specifically: they are microscopic pore-cleaning machines!
> Mites have been blamed for a lot of things. The long association with humans might suggest that they also could have simple but important beneficial roles, for example, in keeping the pores in our face unplugged.
They compete with other tiny bugs who would be happy to just eat our faces.
> Their reproductive organs have moved anteriorly, and males have a penis that protrudes upwards from the front of their body meaning they have to position themselves underneath the female when mating, and copulate as they both cling onto the human hair.
Does this mean they’ll die off relatively quickly if all body hair is cut off? Or does this happen beneath the skin?
The hair follicle is inside the skin.
There are hair removal methods that permanently destroy the follicle. It's unknown whether Demodex can cope with that. Wouldn't that be an interesting study...
I wonder if people with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alopecia_universalis have them?
Good question. I searched for studies but only got papers examining whether these mites cause alopecia.
We have penis mites in our faces? Unacceptable
But they _do_ have an anus. Which is apparently good news.
Reminds me that the no-op garbage collector is considered one valid implementation of a garbage collector.
Quite surprising sentence to encounter on new comments feed.
The comment made no sense to me, then I read the article and .. aha!
Good news, everyone!
I guess d*ckhead makes much more sense now~
Them being sensitive to UV would mean that facemasks with UV lights might actually do something!
Yes, make your skin worse by killing your friendly neigbourhood mites.
spending some time in the sun?
Super fascinating to see the general trends of genetic drift that happen given the conditions of:
* low competition
* host symbiosis
* significant inbreeding
I wonder how much you can analogize this to a more complex organism like the grey wolf's transition to the domesticated dog? You could potentially use this research to extrapolate trends in canine evolution! As the mites have shed DNA that helped them survive in more hostile environments, we see dogs losing traits that allowed them to survive in their ancestral environment as well; pack hunting behavior, size, ear shape.
I for one welcome our symbiont overlords.
Lol! It's been too long...
I appreciate the use of "in" rather than "on". Thank you for that.
How do you kill them?
Since you can’t know if they’re there or not, you won’t know if anything kills them or not. So, no matter what you do you’ll imagine them having sex on your face all night and engorging themselves on your skin oils then pooping on you. These are things that can’t be unthought. Sorry man.
Does this mean that if you are doing things in the dark (eg driving at night) then the mites will come out and do their thing while you are awake?
One compound is terpinen-4-ol which is a primary constituent of tea tree oil. Several products containing terpinen-4-ol exist to treat rosacea and ocular rosacea such as Cliradex and Oust Demodex.
Study of commercial terpinen-4-ol products against mites:
They're probably mostly harmless or there won't be 8 billion humans on the planet.
This is the kind of perspective that actually works for me. Thanks!
Even parasites that are definitely detrimental are generally not especially bad for hosts that have coevolved with them. Hookworm in the American South was completely debilitating for the impoverished whites it infected, but basically a nuisance for the blacks. This is generally how parasites work.
So there would be much more cause for alarm if you believed that your face mites were a variety you weren't already adapted to.
> Hookworm in the American South was completely debilitating for the impoverished whites it infected, but basically a nuisance for the blacks.
That is fascinating (is hookworm from Africa and not present in Europe?). Where did you read/learn about this?
> is hookworm from Africa and not present in Europe?
Correct. (Well, the other hookworm, A. duodenale, is present around the Mediterranean. Necator Americanus, "the American killer", is from Africa.)
I read about it on a blog, but it looks like there's some good discussion of the history in https://www.amazon.com/Parasites-Tales-Humanitys-Unwelcome-G...
One of the things I find most interesting about the whole N. Americanus affair is that hookworm was a public health disaster of colossal proportions, and the medical research that recognized it was a big, important advance... but medical treatment for the problem is mostly irrelevant. The (very successful) "medical" intervention that solved this problem was just convincing people to wear shoes.
That's not saying much - just means that we can live until we can breed, and that the next generation also makes it somehow. The same thing could be said about any illness, drug, disaster or mis-treatment that ever happened.
Ivermectin cream. They are believed to cause rosacea, but are typically harmless if not beneficial.
For a moment I thought it was a joke. Such are the times.
Ivermectin is an amazing drug all around. Very safe and useful in so many circumstances. It’s a great shame that it got politicized, first by people who took it unnecessarily because they didn’t trust the establishment, and then by the media and politicians, who badmouthed Ivermectin in order to dunk on the first group. Very sad.
Is there any risk of ivermectin resistance developing in nematodes? That would be catastrophic, right?
Definitely not a joke. I use Ivermectin cream to control Rosacea and it works well. The goal isn’t to eliminate them but to prevent overgrowth which is likely what causes most Rosacea.
This has been used for rosacea for a long time, predating the pandemic. there's a prescription called soolantra
Probably ivermectin or lime sulfur or lindane or similar broad-spectrum pesticides will work, but they'll always come back.
PLEASE DO NOT PUT LINDANE ON YOUR FACE TO GET RID OF PENIS MITES.
Why do you want to kill them?
may be instead they can be trained/convinced to perform some useful function, kind of like nanobots.
A mitepunk future, huh...