Dermatologist freaks viewers out after ‘catching’ mites that live in pores

Dermatologist Dr Scott Walter reveals what’s living on our skin (TikTok/Dr Scott Walter)
Dermatologist Dr Scott Walter reveals what’s living on our skin (TikTok/Dr Scott Walter)

A dermatologist has shared a video about the eight-legged mites called Demodex that live in our pores, which viewers have found either alarming or insightful.

Dr Scott Walter, who is based in Denver, Colorado, posted a clip to the social media platform TikTok, in response to a prompt that asked: “What is something you found out late in life you should have known earlier but just didn’t?”

Dr Walter’s first video, posted earlier this month, explained what the Demodex mites were. He began his video by describing them as “eight-legged creatures living inside the pores of your face right now”.

The microscopic mites live in hair follicles and oil glands on the face, neck and chest, and feed on sebum and oil produced by pores. They are generally harmless, but too many can cause irritation and infection in the skin.

Dr Walter has since posted two more videos about the mites after viewers were shocked and disgusted upon learning of their existence. In one video, he “catches” several mites that live on his own face and puts them under a microscope.

The dermatologist explained that the Demodex mites live in “everyone’s faces”, adding: “Some people have more than others and that’s what [is] thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of rosacea.”

Rosacea is a skin condition that occurs when round red spots and pustules appear on the face. Other symptoms include burning and stinging sensations, permanent redness and small blood vessels in the skin becoming visible.

Dr Walter continued: “Don’t believe me? I’m going to try and catch some of my own, like a Pokemon, next week and show you under the microscope.”

The clip has been watched more than 10.5m times since he posted it and garnered thousands of comments from people who were thoroughly freaked out by the information about Demodex mites.

“My whole face itches, how to get rid of them please?” one person asked.

Another added: “This is one of those things I would’ve been fine not knowing about.”

In a follow-up video, Dr Walter apologised for bringing viewers’ attention to the existence of Demodex mites.


Replying to @voice_of_hers can you treat Demodex? Here's how we do as dermatologists... But not everyone needs to treat it! #demodex #demodexmite #rosacea #folliculitus #todayilearned #newfriends

♬ original sound - Dr. Scott Walter MD | Derm

“I am sorry I told you about Demodex,” he said. “Is your whole face itchy because of them? Probably not. But can you treat them? Yes.”

He added that the mites also lay eggs on the skin and they can hatch even after treatment. “They’re our friends,” he said. “Accept them. They’re here to stay.”

However, concerned viewers can treat Demodex mites if they have skin conditions like rosacea or severe folliculitis, which is when hair follicles become inflamed.

Dr Walter pointed to topical treatments such as metronidazole, topical ivermectin, sulfer sulfacetamide washes and permethrin, as well as oral therapies that are used in more severe cases.

His most recent video showed him fulfilling his promise to “catch” Demodex mites living on his own face and revealing them under the microscope.


Replying to @kaaat0709 Even I was not fully prepared for this: Demodex Mites: can I catch them all?! #demodex #demodexmite #rosacea #nerdingout #dermatologist #microbiology

♬ original sound - Dr. Scott Walter MD | Derm

He did so by placing cellophane tape across his forehead and nose before going to sleep. The following day, he placed the stripes of clear tape under the microscope, which revealed three Demodex mites that had been living in his pores.

Speaking over the video, he zoomed into one of the mites and said: “That right there is a Demodex mite and I’m kind of freaked out that I actually have them.”

He zoomed in even further and showed the mite moving some of its legs, which indicated it was still alive.

According to WebMd, small numbers of Demodex mites living in the skin can be beneficial as they remove dead skin cells and extra oil.

People with skin conditions that cause irritation and inflammation should consult a dermatologist before beginning any treatments.