Demodex Mites & Rosacea Treatments | Natural Health Blog

Date: 09/13/2012    Written by: Beth Levine

Mites and Rosacea

Rosacea is the skin condition that makes the face turn red and may cause swelling and skin sores that look like acne.  Summer is ending, which may bring some relief to sufferers since the sun and heat of the season can produce flare-ups.  This is a skin condition with no cure according to medical science, so the best we can do is attempt to identify triggers and avoid them as much as possible.  However, now there may be new hope on the horizon to cure rosacea as new research increases our understanding of its possible cause.  A recent study has determined that microscopic mites may be responsible for rosacea.1

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that affects approximately 14 million Americans.2  It is more frequently found in women than in men, typically after the age of 30, and produces redness around the face, especially near the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin.  The affected skin tends to become irritated and bumpy.  Until now, scientists had little understanding of the cause of rosacea, but outbreaks are known to be triggered by stress, sun exposure, and certain foods and beverages.3

Researchers at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in Kildaire, have discovered that rosacea may well be the result of irritation by tiny creatures called Demodex mites that are present on most adults' skin.  In fact, these mites are estimated to inhabit the skin and hair follicles of 96 to 98 percent of adults.4  Prior to this study, they had a possible but unproven association with thinning hair and acne, but were generally believed to live harmlessly on skin and digest microscopic quantities of the sebum produced there.

The scientists found, however, that people with rosacea play host to much larger colonies of Demodex mites than others do.  The difference they discovered was actually ten-fold more for rosacea sufferers than for those without the condition.  The researchers speculate that the Demodex population may expand due to aging, in response to illness, or because of stress in those who are susceptible.

It does not appear to be the mites themselves that bring on the rosacea, but the bacteria they release across the skin when they die. The bacteria produce a reaction by the body's immune system resulting in the redness and inflammation that are the hallmarks of the condition.  And although more evidence is needed to prove this theory definitively, it does seem reasonable.  Rosacea generally responds to antibiotics and sufferers experience fewer, less severe flare-ups when taking these drugs.  However, it is definitely not the inflammation that antibiotics treat, since other anti-inflammatories such as steroids have no effect whatsoever on rosacea.  Instead, it would seem, the antibiotics are likely killing off the bacteria produced by the Demodex mites.  Additionally, flare-ups often occur during periods of heat and humidity, which are optimal conditions for the growth of mite populations.

Unsurprisingly, pharmaceutical companies are already jumping on this finding to start working on a product that specifically eliminates Demodex mites.  Maybe they can come up with some form of treatment that is better than going on and off courses of oral antibiotics and killing much of the beneficial bacteria within the body, but who knows what safety issues any new product would create.

A safer, and likely more effective, solution is to take a natural approach to clearing the skin of rosacea. Instead of using antibiotics to destroy all forms of bacteria good and bad, try a solution specifically designed to control Demodex mites.  One definitely worth considering is Chang Sheng Herbal Rejuvenating Soap. This product has 30 years worth of trials, research, and testing at Qingdao Medical University in China on more than 900,000 people behind it (talk about being ahead of Western medicine).  Another option is an all-natural antibacterial face wash.  Look for one containing Manuka oil, also known as New Zealand Tea Tree, which features a number of active compounds for optimal natural power to fight bacteria on the skin.


1 Goodman, Brenda. "Are Mites Causing Your Rosacea?" WebMD. 30 August 2012. Accessed 3 September 2012. <>.

2 "Rosacea." National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. September 2009. Accessed 4 September 2012. <>.

3 "Factors That May Trigger Rosacea Flare-Ups." Accessed 4 September 2012. <>.

4 Woods, Chuck. "It's Enough To Make Your Skin Crawl." University of Florida. 23 April 2003. Accessed 4 September 2012. <>.

5. <>

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    Submitted by Frieda on
    October 3, 2012 - 8:14am

    Good information and not well known. Rosacea can be devastating. It can affect the eyes in extreme cases, too. My case was resolved by monthly glycolic acid treatments from a very clever aesthetician, who was perfectly capable or reading a scientific study and then acting on it.

    Submitted by Alex St Clair on
    October 3, 2012 - 12:45pm

    Was surprised at my last visit to my dermatologist (3 years ago) to hear that I had acne rosacea, for which he prescribed a topical cream, which helped only a little, so I decided to try my own remedies.

    He had already told me that the condition was incurable and would probably keep recurring. (Doctors love "incurable" conditions!)

    I treated it with an iodine-based surgical scrub which I used in my evening shower in place of soap on my face, an ointment containing bee propolis applied before bed on forehead, cheeks and nose, and a spray of colloidal silver in my face, including my eyes (held open) after washing my face each morning.

    It took about 2 months to get rid of the acne rosacea, and it has never returned.

    Submitted by Lesley Keen on
    July 31, 2014 - 6:53am

    have sent for Propolis cream for my Rosacia i am praying it helps as I can not stand the burning stinging itching feeling I get The silver spray you mentioned sounds very good - I have a moisteriser with it in - forgot about it - would you put them on at different times of the day - propolis on at morning and the silver moituriser afternoon ?

    Submitted by vadore on
    January 14, 2013 - 11:14pm

    I have been looking for natural treatments for mine.... I tried sovereign silver to tame the hot sensation I sometimes felt. It cooled it well enough. I used a few other items which all helped minimally. I then purchased 100% sea Buck thorn oil... (this is pretty cheap at about $8 a bottle!) Within 3 days the difference in my face was massive! The red was down hugely. The buck thorn oil is orange and will have you glowing kinda like an ompa loompa but I only applied at night (kept a towel over my pillow) washed off easy enough in the morning. Has been worth the orange face! A week in and the changes have slowed a little. The red is barely noticeable. Seems the first areas I developed rosacea are the last to fade away. I'm thinking it will take a few weeks to cure this! :-). Very hopeful!

    Submitted by Anna Perez on
    February 26, 2013 - 3:07am

    Great Job for this article! My mom is suffered in rosacea skin do you have any product to recommend?? do you heard about zenmed product? It is effective? guys please help me to find the treatment for my mom.thanks in advance.

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 26, 2013 - 1:36pm

    The Zenmed system contains an antibacterial component plus anti-inflammatories. It does not address the underlying problem, however, which appear to be the mites. The last paragraph in the article above provides recommended options.

    Submitted by Roy Cooper on
    May 18, 2013 - 7:45pm

    Tried Chang Sheng Herbal Rejuvenating Soap. This product has 30 years worth of trials, research, and testing at Qingdao Medical University in China on more than 900,000 people behind it (talk about being ahead of Western medicine).
    Used it morning and evening for a couple of weeks. It cured
    my acne rosacea.

    Submitted by Angela on
    May 21, 2013 - 9:19am

    The best solution is apple cider vinegar, Just put some on cotton wool and dab over the face twice a day. This will kill them off within a week. Remember to wash your face as well to remove the dead mites. A small babies brush is ideal for this as it is very soft and gets into the pores nicely. My mother used this treatment and the swelling and redness on her nose went right down within a week. She looks so different now and so much happier. Don't waste money on expensive creams etc. Apple cider vinegar is the best option and so cheap as well. Remember to maintain the regime at least once a week which will control them and stop any flare ups

    Submitted by Lesley Keen on
    July 31, 2014 - 9:04am

    This sounds good - going to try - thank you for sharing

    Submitted by Nicola on
    January 2, 2016 - 12:50pm
    Tacoma , Washington

    Apple Cider Vinegar among many other things I tried did NOT work. i am going to use ivermectin topically. It KILLS mites. I have had a BAD case for 5 years without the correct diagnosis. Wasted a ton of money, made myself sick with Chinese herbs (ingested caused liver to be very angry!) and many topical medications. Now I read about mites and I have every single symptom. This all began in the HEAT and HUMIDITY of Florida, the ideal climate for mite growth. I have disfiguring facial lesions and lesions on my ears and scalp. All swell and bleed. Looking like a Faces of Meth ad. I won't leave my house. i am very angry it took so long to find a diagnosis and wondering how many facial scars this will leave. Demodex mites UGH!!! Lost all my eyelashes and most of my eyebrows. These are places the mites love....head hair has been falling out for years and NO HELP from multiple derms. SAD state of things in American health care system. Sad also that ivermectin is used in nearly every species of animal and is DIRT CHEAP, available without a script. Yet the version of cream that is approved for humans in the US is only one brand and they are ripping people off for nearly $400 for a 30gram tube. Nice racket.

    Submitted by Dana on
    October 24, 2014 - 10:04am

    This article is outdated. To say that "However, it is definitely not the inflammation that antibiotics treat, since other anti-inflammatories such as steroids have no effect whatsoever on rosacea. Instead, it would seem, the antibiotics are likely killing off the bacteria produced by the Demodex mites." is TOTALLY incorrect. First, topical steroids do have a calming effect on rosacea flares. Second, medicines like Oracea, which is a non-antibiotic dose of doxy that works only on inflammation and not on killing bacteria help rosacea sufferers. Third, new research has found there is no link to mites and rosacea - rather it's sebaceous skin. When they compared non-sebaceous rosacea sufferers, there had no more mites than normal. Please update your article! There is enough confusion out there already for us!!!

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    October 27, 2014 - 10:28am

    While it is true that a single study came out this year supporting the idea that oily skin rather than Demodex may be responsible for rosacea (, there are at least 10 studies that also came out this year that maintain the connection between Demodex and rosacea. For example: · · · · · Based on the fact that studies supporting the role of Demodex outnumber the studies that contradict it by 10 to one this year alone (and by 100 to one if you go back a few years), it would seem a bit premature to declare the connection outdated.

    Submitted by dee on
    March 22, 2016 - 4:29pm

    I have exceptionally dry skin. I've had bouts of rosacea over the years, never terribly severe, on my cheeks. Last year after 3 deaths in 3 months in the family, I broke out so badly my face was full of pustules - all over my cheeks, nose and mouth; then, it went into my left eye, developed an eye infection, sealed shut, goopy and crusty, and a stye and chelation. ALL RELATED TO MITES. I am not oily skinned. I've been on eye drop antibiotics, eye washes, drops with boric acid, eye scrubs and the thing that seems to work the best is Cliradex wipes - expensive, but worth it. Also washing face/eyes 2x daily with an antibiotic soap. Still dealing with a tearing eye, but much improved. When I stopped the Cliradex wipes, my nose broke out a little bit again. I think the tea tree oil in Cliradex is the best. Am ordering another box.

    Submitted by Dana on
    November 5, 2014 - 10:36pm

    I disagree - this is a significant study that indicates that not all rosacea patients have increased mites. It suggests that previous studies did not consider, as this study mentions, the oiliness of rosacea patients in their evaluation. That would invalidate previous studies. Rosacea patients have flare ups that are triggered by other factors (sun, wind, cold, foods, etc), and when their skin gets bad, it can get oily. If it gets oily, then of course these mites increase - they multiply in this environment. The fact this study found that oiliness is the link rather than rosacea is very significant.

    And that wasn't the only reason the article was out of date. The assessment on inflammation, antibiotics and steroids is totally incorrect. I see it hasn't been fixed. Either the author is not in the medical field, does not know about rosacea, or is woefully out of date. Please inform yourself on Oracea (non-antibiotic dose of doxycycline) and prednisone (steroid) and their effects on rosacea and then fix the article. As I said - we don't need bad information.

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    November 6, 2014 - 12:40pm

    We’re not sure how a single observational study on 63 rosacea cases that concluded that Demodex is not responsible for rosacea is quantitatively more significant than more than 100 other studies—including 10 studies this year alone—that still find Demodex is indeed responsible. For now then, we’ll just have to agree to disagree as to what constitutes bad information.

    Submitted by Sid on
    November 13, 2014 - 1:32pm

    Great information. Thank you. Yes, demodex mites are definitely the reason for my rosacea. Thank goodness the information is finally getting out there. After several failed attempts at other treatments, I decided to go for the easiest and cheapest -- apple cider vinegar/purified water in a 50:50 ratio. I simply hold a soaked cloth on my face for about 10 minutes; once in the morning and once in the evening. Oh boy, I can feel it working on each spot. It has a slight tingle to it, but I don't care. I'm only on day three and although my face looks horrible, there are no new breakouts. Now that's progress for me since I've not gone a day without new pustules in years. This is the most progress I've ever made in fighting rosacea.

    Thanks for getting the truth out there.

    Submitted by dookie is god on
    December 14, 2015 - 9:41pm
    Kutna Hora, CZ ,

    Did you get better? I am desperately wanting to try apple cider vinegar, but each time I give it a test run my skin just explodes. It's hard to set aside 2-3 weeks for something that might not work when I have to go to work every day. It would bolster me to hear that this maybe worked for you or if it failed.

    Submitted by Nicola on
    January 2, 2016 - 1:01pm
    Tacoma , Washington

    try prescription ivermection topical cream. It KILLS mites. Used in many species to kills parasites. It is expensive because only one company has the license for human topical use and so they are reaming folks for $400 for a 30 gram tube but if you have mites, this will work. It takes time to get them under control. There are shampoos both script and over the counter such as Demodex on Amazon. They sell face wash too. Have not used them yet but saw many good reviews. Your opthamologist can look at your eyelashes under magnificaion and see the mites. The mites love to live in your eyelashes and eyebrows (scalp too and eventually your face is overcome with lesions). The eye doctor can recommend SAFE products to wash your eye areas well. If you don't treat there, you will eventually lose your eyelashes and eyebrow hair (sadly I have) and the mites will keep coming from there and migrate throughout your face and scalp. Heat and humidity make it worse, mites love those climates. My problem started when I lived in Florida and now FIVE YEARS later I am finally finding out the true cause of my facial lesions and hair loss. Very sad it took this long,,. Wondering how much scarring will be left on my face and if the hair loss will ever regrow. Looks REALLY ugly with no eyelashes. Nothing to put mascara on. Speaking of which, you will need to TOSS all your makeup as it is likely infested too, especially EYE makeup. Sad, but better than having perpetual mites.

    Submitted by Marlene on
    May 3, 2016 - 8:40am
    Cape Town ,

    I had miraculous results in clearing my skin with topical msm. I had level 4 Rosacea and completely clear skin (pustules and redness gone) in three days. I simply mix the pure powder/crystals with some water to make a thick paste and slather it on my face. Leave on for as long as possible and rinse off. Started using it three weeks ago and despite living in very hot, humid environment (my worst triggers) have only had four tiny bumps on my face. Even flushing is greatly reduced and when it happens there is no outbreak afterwards or any redness. I am menopausal as well, so that is even more remarkable. MSM not a cure and I will use it every night for rest of my life, but the results are truly remarkable and I was overcome with relieve and gratefullness!

    Submitted by Melinda Galiger on
    July 20, 2016 - 10:56pm
    jaipur , Alaska

    I have been using dermalmd rosacea serum for about a week now and have noticed the dry patches have completely gone away. My skin is feeling more supple to wear I have not had to use lotion for my face. Before I had redness along with red patches that itched like crazy. The itchiness is gone completely thank goodness! I am hoping this initial response sticks and the old redness starts to disappear.

    Submitted by Sarah on
    November 22, 2016 - 12:47am
    jar , North Carolina

    I have rosacea and have tried antibiotics, creams, lotions, washes, etc. Did not work. Dermalmd rosacea serum works. I have looked awful for nearly two years and folks at work are now saying I look bright and rested.

    Submitted by Susan B on
    January 16, 2018 - 10:16pm
    Port Aransas , Texas

    I have had rosacea for years and my family has/had it. I had tried the medical treatments and gave up. I can't use sunscreen on my face or any lotions. A holistic professional told me to take Oregon Grape Root in pill form. I've taken it on and off for several years and it keeps my rosacea under control. If I take steroids, it gets worse. Antibiotics are horrible for my gut and body, so I only take them in emergency. I'm sticking with Oregon Grape Root pill form. I've been told mine is hereditary.

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