Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Demodex spp. are ectoparasites living in the pilosebaceous units, which feed on the host's sebum and cellular proteins. The protective barrier of the skin consists of sebum secretion, moisture, and the acid mantle. In this study, we aimed to determine the effects of skin sebum, moisture, pH levels, and sebum configuration on Demodex spp. density Materials and methods: Forty-five patients who had demodicosis were enrolled in the study group, while the control group consisted of 40 subjects without demodicosis. Body fat percentage, serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels, skin sebum, moisture, and pH levels were measured. Demodex spp. density was determined with a standardized skin surface biopsy. Sebum samples were taken from the forehead and a high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) method was performed on these samples. Subsequently, densitometric analyses were applied to the HPTLC plates. Results: Demodex spp. were found on the cheeks and lived in an alkali environment. Skin sebum and moisture levels were low in all groups. The skin pH levels and cholesterol ester in the sebum configuration were determined to be significantly higher in the group with demodicosis. Conclusion: We suggest that Demodex spp. may use cholesterol ester in the sebum as nutriment. In other words, cholesterol ester may be a suitable growth medium for the proliferation of Demodex spp.


Demodex spp., skin sebum, sebum configuration

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