Thanks to researchers, face mites are getting an image makeover New research suggests face mites, long considered parasites, might actually be helpful to humans.

Thanks to researchers, face mites are getting an image makeover

Thanks to researchers, face mites are getting an image makeover

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1109667550/1109667551" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

New research suggests face mites, long considered parasites, might actually be helpful to humans.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

OK, so if you're squeamish about bugs, which I am, a little heads-up - we're going to be talking about microscopic bugs that live on your face.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Yep. They feed off the oil on your skin. Here's Alejandro Manzano Marin of the University of Vienna.

ALEJANDRO MANZANO MARIN: They have tiny, tiny legs, but they can run really fast because when it gets dark, they need to go from pore to pore so they will be able to mate.

FADEL: They may sound like parasites, but Marin says think again.

MARIN: We've looked at this animal, which is not really a parasite that lives in us, but rather probably something that is giving us a benefit.

MARTINEZ: The relationship between a human and a microscopic face bug might be evolving, becoming a little more symbiotic.

MARIN: They might be giving us this ability to probably keep our pores unclogged from other things that might land in there.

FADEL: So there you go. Consider face mites a part of your skin care routine. You've got your exfoliant, your simple cleanser, your moisturizer and now your face mites? Ew.

Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.