Just How do you Kill Demodex Mites ?


Demodex mites and rosacea seem to be a popular, if not somewhat controversial pairing.Even though there is no proven link between rosacea symptoms and the presence of demodex mites, many rosacea sufferers are interested in eliminating demodex mites to see if their rosacea symptoms improve.

So just how can you kill them ? Demodex mites are tiny, and live naturally in everyone’s skin, but sometimes in abundance with rosacea papules and pustules. They are quite difficult to kill.

Read on if you’d like to know more about how to elminate demodex mites.

First of all, why would you want to eliminate them ?

There may be some new evidence that proteins from a bacteria that can be isolated from demodex mites cause an immune reaction in rosacea sufferers. I’m still not a believer in the involvement of these critters in the cause of rosacea.

Just in case more evidence is found in the future, though, demodex mites are worth further understanding. Indeed demodex mites might be proven to not be involved in the pathogenesis or rosacea.

Mites and Faeces

Some recent publicity related to demodex mites conjured some impressive images of what demodex mites look like and might be doing in your skin. These comments lead to lots of headlines and articles that might confuse you even more about the role of demodex in rosacea. Here are some quotes attributed to Dr. Kavanagh, one of the few researchers making actual progress in this direction.

Rosacea may be caused by mite faeces in your pores

15:57 30 August 2012 by Debora MacKenzie

Kevin Kavanagh of the National University of Ireland, in Maynooth, now thinks he has discovered the cause – and it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Tiny mites – eight-legged arachnids related to spiders – live in the pores of our facial skin. They are particularly fond of the hair follicles of eyebrows and eyelashes, and the oily pores most common on the nose, forehead and cheeks. Called Demodex, the mites eat sebum, or facial oil, and colonise your face at puberty.

They crawl about your face in the dark to mate, then crawl back into pores to lay their eggs and die. Healthy adults have around one or two mites per square centimetre of facial skin. People with rosacea, however, can have 10 times as many, says Kavanagh. Research suggests that the stress that causes flare-ups of rosacea changes the chemicals in sebum, making it better food for mites.

Rosacea often improves with antibacterial drugs that don’t affect the mites, such as tetracyclines. Kavanagh thinks this is because rosacea is caused by a reaction to bacteria in the mite’s faeces.

Demodex does not have an anus and therefore cannot get rid of its faeces. “Their abdomen just gets bigger and bigger, and when they die and decompose they release their faeces all at once in the pore,” says Kavanagh. When the mites are numerous, he believes that the material is enough to trigger an immune reaction, inflammation and tissue damage.

Killing Demodex Invitro (in the test tube)

We know from the paper In vitro and in vivo killing of ocular Demodex by tea tree oil, that various oils and solutions can kill demodex mites quite quickly in the test tube.

Solution Demodex Kill Time
100% alcohol 4 minutes
50% tea tree oil15 minutes
100% tea tree oil4 minutes
100% carraway oil4 minutes
100% dill weed oil14 minutes

Note that carraway oil and dill weed oil are toxic to the eye.

Studies have also confirmed that ether, xylol, benzene, Danish (compound polysulfide ointment) ointment can kill demodex in a few minutes.

Note that demodex mites have a life cycle of 14-18 days.


Ivermectin is used in dermatology against some parasitic infestations in humans. The drug is used in the treatment of patients with different forms of scabies, human body lice, head lice, demodecicosis, et. al. Published literature includes a case study of one patient who was treated with topical permethrin and oral Ivermectin. In another case report of one patient, the papules and pustules of rosacea were difficult to treat until oral ivermectin was included in the treatment regime.

Several rosacea sufferers on the rosacea-support email group report success in treating their rosacea with Ivermectin, but the benefits were only short lived.

Ivermectin (Stromectol, Mectizan, Ivomec, Oramec, Cardomec) has been patented as a treatment for rosacea.

I would advise extreme caution should you consider a 0.5% Topical Ivermectin prescription like Sklice, which is only for the scalp and hair.

Galderma has recently started selling Soolantra, a 1% Ivermectin Cream for the treatment of the papules and pustules of rosacea. Soolantra is showing promising results as a mainstay treatment for rosacea.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil (TTO) is sourced from the Melaluca tree which is native to Eastern Australia. Tea Tree Oil has been shown to kill demodex mites in as little as 4 minutes. External application of undiluted tea tree oil and/or at inappropriate high doses has been associated with toxicity, including death, in cats and other animals.

There is so much interest in the properties of tea tree oil that a research group has been created within the School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences at The University of Western Australia.

In a recent study, TTO was used to eliminate demodex mites living in the eyelashes of ocular rosacea sufferers. Study participants were given weekly lid scrubs with 50% tea tree oil and a daily lid scrub with a tea tree shampoo. After six weeks all 6 participants showed improvement in conjuctival irritation and inflammation.

TTO is not soluble in water, but is soluble in alcohol, but sadly that would be unsuitable for use around the eye. Tea Tree Oil can be diluted 50% in Macadamia nut oil for use around the eyes. Lid scrubs with 50% Tea Tree Oil did produce irritation in the participants but the effect was found to be minimised if care was used to avoid spilling it into the eye.

Full strength tea tree oil should never be used anywhere on the face.

Kwellada/Elimite (Permethrin)

Back in 2000, Annette Anderson advocated using Permethrin 5% on the face to eliminate the mites. Permethrin was originally used to treat scabies. She warned that getting it in your eyes burns terribly and that the instructions mention that you should not use it on your face. A few members of rosacea-support had bad reactions to using permethrin on their face, so use Permethrin with extreme care. In the U.S., 5% Permethrin (Elimite Cream) is only available by prescription.

If you are considering Permethrin in any form it would be wise to consider Dr. Linda Sy’s advice to “solicit the cooperation and supervision of their respective dermatologists, get a KOH skin scraping to establish the presence of florid demodex population … Participants try the Permethrin on a small area of face first, to determine if any immediate severe problem exists”.

Seabuckthorn Oil

Despite claims on various internet sites, I have not been able to find any published evidence that Seabuckthorn oil kills demodex mites. If you know of some evidence, please post in the comments below. In the meantime, please disregard any claims that you find that Seabuckthorn Oil kills demodex mites.

A natural approach

For those interested in a more natural approach to treating rosacea including using Olive Leaf Extract and Tea Tree Oil see Rachelle’s Alternative Treatments for Demodex Mites.

Selenium Sufide

Note that despite some media coverage relating to Selenium Sufide (the active ingredient in Selsun shampoo);

Your Health:

The active ingredient in the shampoo, selenium sulfide, might help control the Demodex skin mite population that triggers the inflammation associated with rosacea. People use the shampoo to wash their faces gently.

(Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Dr. Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist and nutrition expert.)

Selenium Sulfide has not been found to kill demodex mites.

Over to You

Have you tried any treatments to eliminate demodex mites ? Did you have a bad reaction them ? any suceess ? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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1,808 Reader Comments

  1. Monique says:

    Ascorbic Acid Flush protocol to re-build Immune and Skin (collagen)

    Drink 2-4 litres Water (1/2-1gallon)

    Vitamin D (ingest only)
    Vitamin E
    Garlic Oil
    Aloe Vera gel
    Sauerkraut (ingest only) gut health
    Coconut oil
    Hydrogen Peroxide
    Boron (ingest only)
    Apple Cider Vinegar
    Colloidal Silver (also good in eyes)

    Cedar oil
    Tea Tree oil
    Boric Acid
    Olive Leaf oil
    Sea Buckthorn oil
    Epsom Salt

    *I am having an obvious 75%+ improvement in only days especially with: Ascorbic Acid Flush protocol (2 since January 1st + Vitamin C everyday), (Raw) Garlic, Cedar oil, Neem

    Also: Aloe Vera, Tea Tree, Hydrogen Peroxide, Vit. D,E, Apple Cider Vinegar, water, Coconut oil, Borax, and some of the others…

    I am aware of the effectiveness though I have yet to get: Sulphur

    I am going to soon test or get: Epsom Salt, Zinc, Boric Acid…

    I have not ever tried (?): Sea Buckthorn, Olive Leaf

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi everyone I just wanted to share the good news MY DEMODEX ARE COMPLETELY GONE!!!
    After a long battle I finally won. I shared before I was using Ungex products. I had to use them daily for a total of 5 months as my mites were real bad and took longed then expected to completely eliminate. I finished late December and waited anxiously if they would flare up again… but nothing! I am finally postive that they have vanished and i praise the lord everyday.
    For anyone suffering their products are totally worth it. I purchsed total 2 packs and it cost me around 800 in total which i know isnt cheap, but i made them last and it was worth every cent as the girls that work there were with me in my darkest moments to make sure I was getting the most out of treatment and i am smiling today becasue of them.

    working on your immune system is also important to make my body strong enough to fight them off in the future now that my infestation has gone. I have quit smoking and started to look after myself more and am positive for this coming year.

    • Wow Lisa I’m so thrilled for you that is brilliant news!! Can you give some info about what is in the product (active ingredients etc) as I can’t find it written on the website. Thanks so much for letting us know, I was really interested to hear about this product!

      • Lisa says:

        Hi Anne, I emailed them asking for ingredients and they said to look on this page at the bottom https://www.mitesoff.com.au/far/
        I would send a photo but this forum doant allow it!

        They are really worth contacting if you have questions they arnt pushy at all and helped give me the simple answers to what was going on and assured me the movement and craziness I felt going in with my skin wasn’t just in my head, like so many Drs and dermos had said.

        Wishing you all the best and you may find the light at the end of the tunnel of this nightmare

  3. Mike Marca says:

    I believe that I have found an inexpensive product that will keep the mite infection to a very very low level. Matter of fact I am not experiencing any real mite activity right now, and the main areas are not inflamed or scaled as before. I am no longer using rife therapy, alcohol soakings, or Tree Tree Oil, just this product which is inexpensive and healthy to apply. Before I let other people to try it I want to try it for another two weeks, but the prospects are very positive at the moment. Mike

  4. Mike Marca says:

    I finally found something that really does work! I have been using this product for about a month now, and very seldom do I even have a bite now from these mites. It works just like the ear wax in your ears does to insects. I never had these demodex mites in my inner ear. It works just like sap on a tree for insects. That is the natural defense method for a tree against insects. The product that I use is called “Pro-Tech-Skin.” It costs about $11.00. You can buy it on E-Bay. It is made by Sno-Seal, but instead for leather Pro-Tech-Skin is made for human skin. The solvents are plant based and not harmful. The consistency of the product is different, and the mites totally do not like it! I noticed that after one month of using this product the main areas do not have a mite infection anymore. Once in a while I may feel some mite activity, but nothing that I cannot live with. Perhaps with a little more time they will be gone. I believe that with my immune system I will always have some of these mites. Even if I eradicate completely these mites somehow it will only be a matter of time before I get them back from someone else. This treatment can be long term. It is effective, and it is inexpensive. Do not use it on open wounds, just on skin. After all of these years I have finally found something that works!!!!!!!!!!! I am no longer using rife therapy, alcohol soakings, or Tea Tree Oil. Praise God! Mike

    • j37 says:

      Mike so please for you , iam bean reading your buttle for so long you deservit cause you help alot of people over here.

      I have rosacea for so long as well . Did you think that it will work for me as well with the papules , postules and redness.

      I dont now if this is the product Atsko Sno-Seal Pro-Tech Skin Cream (1.25-Ounce Jar) ???

      Thanks so much for your help over the years Mike .

    • I’m so glad for you, Mike!
      I have battled with a similar issue for a few years now and finally decided I have some kind of bacteria, maybe staph, on my skin. I ordered some chlorhexadine (sp?) concentrate from amazon and I add a few drops to everything I use on my skin and scalp. (It does require shaking up a little at each use.) I even put a few drops in my liquid foundation makeup. That’s when I noticed a HUGE improvement on my face. Hardly any itching, crawling sensations at all anymore.
      Oh, and I use a soap bar with bergamot oil in it in the shower. The bar came from a Whole Foods type store. I wash pillow and case every couple days and towels after each use.
      I hope this information helps someone. Best wishes to all.

  5. alex says:

    I’m also so glad for you Mike. Could you, please, tell me which one of these 2 links should I use to order:


    I have a close person of mine trying to battle this kind of symptoms for over a year now – itching, crawling sensations mostly on scalp, face, nose and eyes (no rash) especially at night almost always accompanied by abdominal pain, cough, frequent urination and feeling cold. Symptoms started October 2015 and almost disappeared in May 2015 but again returned last October. This time they are milder because we concentrated on completely detoxifying the body, healthy diet and building a stronger immune system naturally.

    I hope everyone will find the right way to win this battle!

  6. Mike Marca says:

    Alex, the jar that I have is just like the one on Amazon. J37, I have the 3.5 oz. jar, and I bought it on e-bay for $11.00. I feel normal again! Once in awhile I will feel something, but that is nothing of what I was experiencing from an out right demodex mite infection for many years! Mike

    • j37 says:

      So happy for you Mike 🙂 Mike , and what about the reddness paules and postules on the face ???? They subside ???? They are gone for good ???

      Thanks so much Mike and keep going

  7. alex says:

    Thank you Mike, we’ll definitely give it a try! In any case detoxifying the liver in our case improved the situation a lot, so have it in mind.

  8. Mike Marca says:

    J37, I no longer have either, but I still have to scrap my eyelashes a little when I wake up. As I stated once in a while I will feel them a little, but nothing like before. It is like tar and feathering a person, but it is like this to the mites instead. I don,t think that they can move very well in that stuff, and it may even suffocate them a little. Mike

    • Della Sacks says:

      Hi Mike, I started off by using the Boric Acid and that got them to surface. I could attack them and clear up a lot of them, but it did not kill them off because of the egg cycle. But I bought the cream you recommended and they hate it. I killed them off on the face, but I feel some went into the nostrils. That stuff got them running. You are right, I think the salve is so thick, they lack O2. Anyway, my eyes are clear and my face is clear. Just keeping my eyes open for signs of new eggs that look like a white ring on my forehead, but no signs so far. I guess we will see once the cycle comes around again. I feel almost certain that will not happen. Keep on commenting please, and thank you for your helpful comments over the past couple of years. Della

    • j37 says:

      Thanks Mike for your answer. Do you use it once a day or twice a day ??? How long in your skin , befere yor wash off.

      Thanks so much

  9. Elene says:

    I’ve been using Cliradex wipes for about 6 weeks for Demodex in my eyelids, which had been found on examination with a microscope. There was definite improvement early on with the eye irritation, and I also noticed that the skin on my cheeks was getting smoother– I don’t have obvious rosacea but my skin has been bumpy and rough there for a long time and nothing every helped before. I ran out of the wipes and didn’t use them for a week or so before my followup appointment with the optometrist, and my cheeks got noticeably bumpier again. The optometrist confirmed that he saw improvement but that I still had signs of excessive mites. I’m continuing with the Cliradex. The doctor says he has been seeing excellent results with this product but that people sometimes have to use it for up to a year to really clear up the problem.

  10. Mike Marca says:

    Cliradex uses Tree Tree Oil as its main ingredient. TTO is ok, but it doesn,t solve the problem. I have been using TTO for a long time. Pro-Tech-Skin on the other hand keeps the mites from going where I apply it. TTO does not. J37, I do not wash it off. It kind of just sticks there for awhile. I apply it about three times a day. Actually, once I apply it I do not notice the product on my skin. It does not bother me nor does it smell. In the winter it insulates my skin from the cold. I like it. It is the best product that I have used by far! I now have no signs of Rosacea, and demodex is on an all time low. Mike

    • Maria says:

      Mike, how did you get the idea to try Pro-Tech-Skin?

    • j37 says:

      Oh I see Mike . And your food habirs , did change them ?? Did you sitl eat the fermented saurekraut ??? Did you eat grains or carbs , sugar etc ???? Lets hope the mites dont adapt do that , cause my jar is on this way . Lets see if i can get the same results as you. But iam not that optimistic cause the ttto work welll at first but then losse this power. I dont now , i will let you now when the jar arrive.


  11. Mike Marca says:

    J37, I am trying to help myself, and maybe help someone else as well here. We all have this terrible skin problem with demodex mites, of which the doctors have no real solution for. It seems to help Della some. I still have minor flare-ups now and them. Hopefully, Pro-Tech-Skin will continue to work for me and perhaps for you. That is why we are all here. Right? Mike

    • Della Sacks says:

      Mike, my face is clear since using the Borox solution and Pro-Tech-Skin every day. If I have a breakout, the PTS applied just to that area seems to work. I used the Borox in my eyes (1tsp to 4oz water) and they just popped out. Went to Opthamologist yesterday and my eyes are healthy. TTO does not work for me and is responsible for the redness as it is too strong and burns. I stopped that ages ago. I understand that people are not optimistic, but you have to try everything reasonable. For $10 it is worth a try and the cream itself if great. I use it on my hands and feet as it allows the skin to heal. So to anyone that is scared, this cream is great. Try it. I have used it for maybe 2 weeks and I am elated. Keep your eyes open every day for the tell-tale signs of new proliferation, but if you use it every day and cover your face with it every night, they will die. What have you got to lose? Nothing is working for you so far. Thanks Mike for sharing. Good job!

      • j37 says:

        Thanks Mike and Della , for sharing your history and results with me and my i say with us. Yes iam not optimistic but i buy it any way cause i believe in Mike , he as a lot of now how and like Della say its not so expansive , so if he didint work , the money is not the issue.

        Mike , could you tell me please when you first see the results of Pro Teck skin ??? Did it get worse , before it get better ????

        Thanks so much Mike and sorry to upset you . Thanks

  12. Jessica says:

    Mike did you have it in the eyelashes as well? If so, are your eyes clear now?


  13. Mike Marca says:

    Della, It is Boric Acid not Borox for the eyes! 1 tsp boric acid to 4 oz water is what I use for the eyes. It is my mother’s old formula. She used it when we were children, and when we had something wrong going on with our eyes. It also works for demodex mites in the eyes (boil and cool first). J37, I first started seeing results right away. They fought a little at first. Jessica, I am shure that they are in my eyelashes, since they used to go into my eyes at times and are now in my eyebrows (but subdued from the Pro-Tech-Skin). I did have a small outbreak, but I was able to put them down quickly. I hope that the Pro-Tech-Skin continues to work. It is nice to feel almost normal again. If not I will use it at night before bed, and also use TTO, alcohol soakings, and rife therapy regularily. Mike

    • j37 says:

      Mike , I hope from my heart that the Pro – Tech – Skin really work always ,And mites dont adapat to that. I read in a lot of forum that honey specially Manuka , did something positive to Dermatitis sheborreic and Rosacea. Do you think that the honey in pro tech skin , could be the secret ?????

      Thanks Mike

    • lrmarshall says:

      Thank you for clarifying that about the boric acid Mike. I was wondering that! Are you simply wiping the eyes and brows with this?

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