Let me start by saying that I definitely used the ‘shot gun’ approach when treating Demodex. I researched online for hours, gleaning bits of information from several different sources. Some of the treatments are very similar to how to treat rosacea and there is some research out there suggesting that rosacea may be caused by Demodex. Once I had learned of a few strategies that helped other people I implemented them myself, all at once. It was a desperate approach because I was desperate at the time. I have reviewed each product I used below and included useful information and tips. If I had another infestion I would use some of the products differently and I have explained those instances in my reviews.
My face was so swollen, red, spotty and weepy that I could not leave the house. I was feeling physically ill and extremely fatigued.
Due to the effect of chemicals I was exposed to during my employment in the oil industry I have become very aware and educated on what I am putting on my skin, what is in/on my food and what is in my household products. Right from the outset of this infestation I knew that I wanted to treat it as naturally as possible. There are pesticides such as ivermectin available in creams to treat demodex mites but from the reviews I read, some of the side effects seemed worse than the outbreak. So, focusing on natural products, here is how I treated and recovered from my demodex infestation. While I was actively fighting my infestation I was showering twice a day, morning and night. Unless stated specifiacly all of the routines were carried out twice a day.
Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
While I was treating I washed my hair twice a day. Normally, even washing your hair once a day isn’t great because you strip all the natural oils from your scalp and hair follicles. But in this case, that is exactly what I was trying to achieve so that the mites had less oil to feed on. The shampoo I used was from the Australian Thursday Island company and included essential Tea Tree Oil. Several forums that I had researched had reviews from people who had had success with Tea Tree Oil treatment of Demodex mites.
This was a really nice shampoo, it left my hair feeling clean and soft. If you are like me and enjoy the smell of Tea Tree then you will also appreciate the fragrance of this shampoo.
Now that I am recovered from the infestation I use a couple of drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil in my regular shampoo every month or so as part of my maintenance routine. I keep a bottle of the essential oil in the shower and add a couple of drops to the shampoo in the palm of my hand, mix it up with my finger then apply to my hair as normal. Remember that this is an essential oil so it is strong and a little bit goes a long way. You could add the oil to your shampoo this way initially to treat the infestation but in my personal experience, if you are as sick and fatigued as I was, then you’ll just want the tea tree shampoo so you don’t have to waste time and energy.
Tea Tree Oil Conditioner
I used the same brand as the shampoo which was from Thursday Planation. Once I went through the first bottle I decided that I probably didn’t really need the conditioner as well. You are better off saving your money on the conditioner and purchasing some of the more useful products. If you want to cover all your bases then you could add the Tea Tree essential oil directly to your conditioner in the same method as the shampoo.
This is an important part of the routine as it helps draw the toxins from dead mites out of your skin so that your body doesn’t have to deal with them. The mask will also be putting minerals and nutrients back into your skin which is important to help support skin health during treatment. I used a product by Sukin called Detoxifying Clay Masque. I chose this product because it is natural, does not contain parabens and the company does not test on animals.
While I was treating I used this product at night before my shower. If I had my time again I would have been using this mask in the morning. It makes sense to me that more mites were dying overnight than during the day so the mask treatment would have been more effective at removing toxins in the morning. I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me at the time but I’m glad that now I can recommend morning treatments to help others. From experience with the product I would say that it was too drying on the skin to be used both morning and night.
Exfoliation is important because it helps remove oil and dead skin cells, both of which the mites feed off. You may also dislodge a few mites while you are at it. During treatment I was exfoliationg every time I showered, morning and night. Exfoliating was difficult because my skin was so sore and sensitive. I needed an exfoliate that would work but also one that wasn’t too harsh on my skin, so I used Sukin’s Super Green Detoxifying Scrub which contains Jojoba Beads and ground bamboo as the exfoliate.
Tea Tree Foaming Face Wash
I still use this product every time I shower. It is great for removing oil from your face which is exactly what you need to starve the Demodex mites. Try to leave it on your face as long as you can so that the Tea Tree oil has a chance to work on any mites. I usually lather up my face and leave it on for as long as it takes me to get through my soap cleansing routine.
While I was actively treating demodex I would also use the foam to give my eyebrows and eyelashes a good clean. Remember that when the mites are not active they are burrowed into the base of the hair follicles on your face. In my experience the most movement I felt was in my eyebrows. To clean my eyebrows and eyelashes I purchased a new soft bristled tooth brush and used it before I washed the foam off my face. I started with my eyebrows, giving each one a good scrub to loosen out any mites that may have been starting to be affected by the Tea Tree oil. Make sure you give the toothbrush a good rinse in-between treating so that you are not transferring mites between your eyebrows. Next I would treat my eyelashes. To do this your eyes need to be firmly closed, tight enough that none of the foam will get into your eyes, but not so tight that you can’t get to the base of your lashes with the bristles of the toothbrush. Give each eyelash a gentle scrub and again, remember to rinse the brush out in-between.
When you rinse the foam from your face you will hopefully be taking a few mites with it. Remember that if the mites die on your face then your body needs to deal with the toxins, so the more mites you can remove this way and with exfoliating the better.
To save money, if you are using the Tea Tree shampoo then you could use some of the lather from your hair while you are showering instead of the foaming face wash. Use the shampoo lather in the same way as described for the foaming face wash. I used the shampoo lather when I had run out of foaming face wash and felt that it did as good a job. I only purchase the foaming face wash now because I am not using the Tea Tree shampoo every shower.
Tea Tree Antiseptic Gel
Again, this product was from the Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil range. I kept this beside my bed so that I could use it at night. The demodex mites are most active during the night. You can literally feel them crawling around on your face. As they move they tickle your skin, it feels similar to having a loose hair touching you face. The feeling is strong enough that you will want to itch your face but the less you touch your face the better.
I tried a few different routines at night. Remember that the mites are moving around to feed and mate so you really want to impede this night time activity as much as you can. All the products I used at night are listed below but this antiseptic Gel was the one constant in my night time battles against the mites. The second I felt any movement on my face I applied a dab of the gel to that area. Under the gel you will be able to feel the mite moving as it succumbs to the Tea Tree oil.
Some nights I would put a layer of gel on my eyebrows even before I felt movement. This was just one of the different routines I tried so that I wasn’t doing the same thing every night and giving the mites a chance to adapt. When applying to your eyebrows, close your eyes and use a small amount to rub both with the direction of the hair and against it so that the entire base of the hair follicle is coated. This gel has a really strong Tea Tree smell and it was one of the most effective products that I used. After applying let it dry a bit before you open your eyes as it contains alcohol to dry the gel and this will make your eyes water. Be careful that you don’t get this product into your eyes.
Tea Tree Blemish Stick
I used the blemish stick during daylight hours in the same way that I used the gel but for more precise application. The blemish stick comes with a built if applicator so you can dab the product directly onto the area you are treating. I also used this to treat the spots that occur when the mites die on your face. It comes in a neat little tube that is easy to take with you if your are out and about.
Demodetic Rosacea Night Powder
This is a product from the Australian company Moo Goo. I chose products from this company because they have an entire range of natural and gentle products made with effective ingredients and no gimmicks.
Their Demodetic Powder is made up of machined minerals and micas in a super fine powder. The size and shape of these particles appears to interfere with the shell casing of the mites and they find it hard to move around. It also soaks up the excess skin oil that the mites feed off.
I feel like this product was really good at cutting down the night time activity of the mites. The powder is applied to dry skin at night, straight after cleansing, don’t apply over moisturiser because it will defeat the purpose of the powder. This product is incredibly drying on your skin and while I knew that’s what it was supposed to do, it was quite uncomfortable. All I could do to feel better about the feeling of dryness was imagine the mites with powder particles stuck in their body scales making life difficult for them.
I didn’t use this product every night and I honestly don’t think that I would have been able to, but the times I did use it I really felt a difference in mite activity. If you can tolerate the dryness, this product is very effective. It is also important to clean your make up brush (I bought a new one exclusively for the Demodetic Powder) in between applications so that you are not risking recontamination.
Soothing MSM Cream is another product from the Moo Goo company. It contains 10% MSM (Organic Sulfur) and Sweet Almond Oil among other things. I’m going to focus on these two main ingredients because they can really gave me an indication of how I was going in my recovery. Some reviews I read indicated that Sulfur Cream was effective at treating Demodex. I can 100% tell you that this product smelt/tasted completely different between when I was fighting off the infestation and when my skin was healthy.
When I was treating the infestation and using this cream it would leave me with a sulphury taste in the back of my throat that made me feel ill. I don’t know how applying a cream on your face can lead to a taste at the back of your throat. It actually put me off my food and led to me dropping a bit of weight. The surprising thing about the smell/taste of the cream happened when my skin recovered. I still use this cream now and when I do all I can smell is the sweet almond oil.
It is important that you break the breeding cycle of the adult mite. This means that you must be vigilant in not re-contaminating yourself. As you make your skin a less desirable habitat for the mites they will start moving around more aggressively. While I was treating I changed my pillow case and towel every day. This may seem extreme but you just do not want to risk the chance of reintroducing mites that may have dropped off on your pillow case or towel. I also changed my bedding every 3 days and washed everything in hot water. All my linen was dried in direct sunlight. The hot water and sunlight are reportedly very good at killing the mite eggs before they hatch.
If you are applying make up to hide the effects of the Demodex mites when you go out then you need to ensure that you are cleaning your brushes and applicators in between uses to avoid recontamination.
The less you touch your face the better. I read one persons post that referred to fingers as the “Demodex Express’. That really stuck with me and made me very aware that each time I touched my face I was helping the mites get around.