Your Face Is Covered With Creepy, Mating Mites While You Sleep

Photo: Leszek Glasner / Shutterstock
Sleep Mites: Your Face Is Covered With Creepy, Mating Mites While You Snooze

You probably already heard the myth that you swallow spiders in your sleep. Luckily, experts found that that's a big fat lie.

But you're not completely safe because other creepy crawlers like to hang out on your face while you're sleeping. Actually, they might be doing a lot more than hanging out.

Sleep mites tend to live in our follicles, but they are mostly on our face — specifically, around the nose, eyebrows, eyelashes, and hairline.

There are thousands of them that live on your face, but you can only see them at a microscopic level. It has even been suggested that a person may have more than one million mites on their body in total.

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If you think you're special and aren't covered in them because you use anti-bacterial soap, we hate you break it you, but "99.9 percent of humans carry them," explained Ron Ochoa, a mite scientist at the US Department of Agriculture.

The mites seem to be nocturnal creatures that hide out in our follicles and feed off the oils in our glands during the day. At least they make our hair a little less oily, right?

At night, the mites climb out to find a fellow mite to mate with. Our body might have a mite orgy happening on top of it, only for the females to return to our follicles during the day to lay their eggs. Can you say, "ewww"?

Holly Menninger said, "These are things that live on us — they're intimately associated with us — but they've not really been studied. It's kind of crazy."

This is exactly what nightmares are made of. Are you feeling itchy yet?

There are at least two types of species of mites that live on us: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis.

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Folliculorum tend to be the bigger guys that live in our follicles' main cavity. The brevis are smaller and live in the sebaceous gland where there it eats oil.

Interestingly enough, kids are safe from these little terrors. These mites do not appear on children ,and only 70 percent of 18-year-olds had mites on their skin when checked.

But it is still unclear how adults get these mites. According to Ochoa, "The mite is so well-adapted to live in our face and our hair that our immunologic system cannot recognize them."

But don't worry, most mites that live on your skin are harmless.

They can make a person's rosacea worse when a mite starts to decay after their life cycle is over. This can trigger an immune response, which causes a flare-up for a person with rosacea.

Something tells us it's going to take a lot longer to fall asleep in the future.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in June 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer. Find her on Twitter for more.