Demodex mites are tiny parasites that live near hair follicles. All humans harbor millions of mites with no symptoms, however occasionally they reproduce at an accelerated rate and cause problems such as rosacea and folliculitis. People with a compromised immune system may also be susceptible to an overgrowth in mite populations. Treatments consist of dietary supplementation and topical applications.
The goal of taking supplements for control of mites is to change the pH of the body. This presumably alters the skin so it is effectively not attractive for the mites to feed upon. Apple cider vinegar is a longstanding remedy; mix 2 tbsp. vinegar (preferably organic) in a glass of water twice a day. Alternatively, you may mix 1/2 tsp. baking soda in a glass of water and drink twice daily. Brewers yeast is currently used as a treatment for mite infestation in animals and is available in most pet stores. Traditionally, brewers yeast was also used in humans with good results at a dose of 1 to 2 tsp. per day mixed in water.
The purpose of topical applications is to starve or suffocate the mites. Apple cider vinegar may also be used for this purpose by mixing a 1/2 cup with 2 gal water and washing the hair with this mixture daily for four to five days. Eucalyptus or tea tree oil may also be added to the water along with the vinegar to improve it’s efficacy. Tea tree oil shampoo can used for good results, as this oil contains natural antiseptic properties that kill these insects.
Olive oil brushed into the hair and scalp at night and washed out in the morning may kill mites by coating them, thus preventing them from breathing. Alternatively, mayonnaise may be used to coat the hair and scalp with the same results. Rinses are also effective using lemon juice or garlic infused water which will change the surface pH of the scalp, thus making it an inhospitable environment for mites.
Folk Remedy Cautions
Many folk remedies work well, as the science behind them have be proven effective and are generally considered safe. Test these treatment on a small patch of skin before using them regularly. Discontinue immediately if your skin reacts adversely to any treatment.
References and ResourcesEarth Clinic Folk Remedies: Mite Infestation Cures
The Whole Dog: Demodectic Mange/Alternative Therapies for treatment
Rosacea Support Group: Alternative Treatments for Demodex Mites