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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2009 Dec;34(8):e516-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2009.03343.x. Epub 2009 May 22.

Is Demodex folliculorum an aetiological factor in seborrhoeic dermatitis?

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Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey.



Seborrhoeic dermatitis (SD) is a common inflammatory skin disease for which no single cause has been found, although many factors have been implicated. The mite Demodex folliculorum (DF) is most commonly seen in the pilosebaceous unit in humans. SD is located in areas that are rich in sebaceous glands, which are also preferred by DF.


To compare the number of DF parasites in patients with clinical SD and in healthy controls, and to investigate any possible relationship between the number of DF mites and the presence of SD.


The study comprised 38 patients with SD and 38 healthy controls. Standard random and lesion-specific sampling was performed in the group of patients with SD, whereas standard random sampling only was performed for controls.


Demodex folliculorum sampling was positive in 19 patients (50%) and 5 controls (13.1%). Mean DF density was 8.16 +/- 10.1/cm(2) (range 0-40) and 1.03 +/- 2.17/cm(2) (1-7) in patient and control groups, respectively. The differences between groups for DF positivity and mean DF density were significant (P = 0.001 for each). DF was found in 13 lesional areas in the patient group, but in only 5 areas in the control group (P = 0.031).


The number of DF mites was significantly higher in both lesional and nonlesional areas of patients with SD. This suggests that, when other aetiological causes are excluded, DF may have either direct or indirect role in the aetiology of SD.

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