How To Get Rid Of Milia On Face

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You’ve probably noticed those small, white bumps on your face that aren’t quite pimples but won’t seem to go away no matter what you do. These stubborn little intruders are known as milia.

Milia can be a nuisance, especially when they decide to set up camp around your eyes or cheeks. But don’t worry – getting rid of them is easier than you might think.

In this article, we’ll guide you through some effective ways how to get rid of milia on face for good. We’ll cover everything from understanding what causes these annoying blemishes to the most effective treatments and prevention strategies.

So whether it’s time for a skincare overhaul or just a few tweaks here and there, we’re here with the tips and tricks that’ll help make those pesky milia history! Stay tuned if you’re ready for smoother, clearer skin.

Overview Of Milia: What Are Milia?

Have you ever noticed small, white bumps on your face and wondered what they were? These tiny cysts, commonly referred to as milia or ‘milk spots,’ are filled pockets located just under the surface of your skin.

They’re most frequently found gracing the faces of individuals, although they can appear on any part of the body.

Here’s a surprise for you: despite their resemblance to whiteheads (a type of acne), milia aren’t related to acne at all! That’s right – these harmless blemishes only affect your appearance and don’t indicate an underlying skin condition.

Primarily seen on infants’ faces, these little pimples or cysts don’t discriminate – anyone can get them! Another fact that might astonish you is that 40% to 50% of newborns experience this common skin concern.

You might also hear people refer to milia as oil seeds. Regardless of what you call them, remember that they’re simply a cosmetic issue and not a sign of a more serious problem.

Milia (milk spots)Small white cysts appear mostly on the face
WhiteheadsA type of acne often confused with milia
How To Get Rid Of Milia On Face

What Are The Different Types Of Milia?

Let’s dive right into understanding the various types of milia. Essentially, milia are small, benign cysts that appear on your skin. They’re often described as looking like tiny white bumps or pearls. There are several different types you might encounter.

  • Neonatal milia. These affect infants and cause white cysts to form on a baby’s skin, most frequently on or around their nose. It’s important to note that this type of milia is present at birth.
  • Primary milia. These small cysts are common on your eyelids, forehead, cheeks, or genitals and can affect both children and adults.
  • Secondary (or traumatic) milia. These occur after damage to your skin from burns, rashes, blisters, or sunlight exposure. Interestingly enough, they can also form due to a reaction from heavy skin cream or ointment usage.
  • Juvenile milia. These cysts are rare but manifest as symptoms of an inherited condition that can be present at birth but may also show up later in life.
  • Milia en plaque. This is a very rare type of milia and typically affects women between ages 40-60, where clumps of milia gather together on a raised patch of skin, often behind ears, on eyelids, cheeks, or jawlines.
  • Multiple eruptive milia. Another rarity causes groups of itchy cysts to form over weeks/months, primarily appearing on the face, upper arms, and upper abdomen.

Each type has its unique characteristics, but ultimately they all fall under the umbrella term ‘milia’. Remember, it’s always best practice to consult with a dermatologist for any concerns related to your own personal situation.

What’s The Difference Between Milia And Milium?

Let’s clear up any confusion you might have about these terms. ‘Milium’ is simply the singular form of ‘milia.’ That means if you’re dealing with one tiny cyst, it’s called a ‘milium.’ If there are multiple, then you use the term ‘milia.’

The thing that makes them different from regular old acne is their structure. Unlike pimples, which can be popped (although it’s not recommended), these small cysts are filled with keratin – yep, the same protein found in hair and nails – and don’t have an opening to be squeezed out through.

Now let me give you some stats here:

  • According to studies by dermatologists, almost half of all newborn babies get at least one milium.
  • For adults, though, this number drops down significantly to around 2%.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re reading this as an adult and find yourself amongst that 2%, don’t fret!

There are plenty of ways to tackle these stubborn bumps (which we’ll explore later on). And remember: while they may be annoying, they’re usually harmless!

How Common Are Milia And Who Do Milia Affect?  

Milia are actually incredibly common. They can occur in people of all ages, from newborns to seniors. In fact, it’s estimated that almost half of all newborns have milia. But don’t worry – while it’s widespread in babies, it often disappears within a few weeks without any treatment.

Now for the adults out there reading this: yes, you too could find these tiny white bumps on your skin.

Although less prevalent than in infants, many adults experience at least one episode of milia during their lifetime. It tends to be more frequent among middle-aged women but can happen to anyone regardless of gender or age.

Here’s something interesting about Milia – they aren’t picky when it comes to where they appear on your body! Most commonly found on the face (especially around the eyes), these stubborn little cysts can also show up on other parts like the hands and chest.

Age GroupPercentage Affected by Milia
NewbornsApproximately 50%
AdultsVaries widely

But wait a minute – what about those with certain skin types or conditions? If you’ve got oily or sun-damaged skin, you might see them more frequently than others.

People with specific skin disorders like blistering dermatosis may also have higher chances of developing milia.

Let’s get one thing straight, though: having milia doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your health! It’s just one way our bodies respond to particular triggers, such as damage caused by sun exposure or the usage of heavy creams and ointments that block pores.

Symptoms And Causes Of Milia

Let’s dive into what causes those small, white bumps known as milia. The main culprit behind milia is trapped dead skin cells that form cysts beneath your skin surface.

What Are The Symptoms Of Milia?

When dealing with Milia, knowing what you’re looking for is essential. The primary symptoms of milia are small white to yellow bumps (cysts) that can appear on your skin.

Unlike some skin conditions, these bumps are often asymptomatic – meaning they don’t cause pain or discomfort. You might notice them appearing in groups or clusters.

Depending on the type of milia you have, there may be some variations in symptoms. Some types of milia can be slightly itchy or form on a raised skin patch.

Now, let’s discuss where these tiny cysts commonly make their appearance:

  • Eye area
  • Cheeks
  • Forehead
  • Nose
  • Arms or legs
  • Genitals such as your penis
  • Inside your mouth
  • Chest

Where Will I Have Symptoms Of Milia?

You’ll typically find that milia affects the skin predominantly on your face, but they can also appear elsewhere on the body.

What Causes Milia?

Let’s dive into what causes those small, white bumps known as milia. The main culprit behind milia is trapped dead skin cells that form cysts beneath your skin surface.

Your body naturally sheds off old skin cells to make way for new ones, also called skin cell turnover. But when these dead cells don’t fall off, fresh skin grows over them and traps them underneath, leading to hardened cysts.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are other factors contributing to the formation of milia on your face:

  • Skin damage due to an injury or sun exposure.
  • Regular use of steroid creams or ointments.
  • It can be a symptom of a certain genetic condition.
  • An autoimmune response might trigger its appearance.

You should also be aware that certain lifestyle habits and conditions may increase your risk:

  • Neglecting proper skincare routine
  • Using cosmetics or makeup products that clog your pores
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Having pre-existing skin conditions like dandruff, rosacea, or eczema

Are Milia Contagious?

Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because the answer is a resounding no. Milia is not contagious.

Unlike pimples or cold sores, which are caused by bacteria or viruses and can easily spread from person to person, milia results from an overproduction of keratin.

Keratin is a protein found in our skin and hair – that gets trapped under the surface of your skin, forming tiny cysts. There’s no bacterium or virus involved here.

No need for any panic stations if someone close to you has developed milia – they can’t pass them on to you. Plus, don’t worry about passing yours on to anyone else, either!

Milia Diagnosis And Tests

How To Get Rid Of Milia On Face

 How Are Milia Diagnosed?

Your dermatologist is typically the one who’ll make that call. They don’t need any fancy equipment or lab tests for this – just a good old-fashioned visual examination.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what they’re looking for. Milia can often be recognized by their distinctive appearance alone.

They usually manifest as tiny, pearly-white bumps under the skin – most commonly on your face around your cheeks and eyes.

You may think that these annoying blemishes look like whiteheads, but there’s a key difference here! Whiteheads tend to have a reddish inflammation surrounding them, and they’re filled with pus (yuck!).

On the other hand, milia aren’t surrounded by redness or inflammation since they’re trapped under the skin’s surface.

 Can Milia Be Permanent?

First off, let’s reassure you: while milia might seem tenacious and persistent, they aren’t typically permanent. These small cysts often clear up over time without any intervention.

However, how long it takes for them to disappear can vary from person to person and could range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

But there’s a little more to this story. In some cases – particularly if the underlying cause of your milia is chronic or ongoing – these pesky white bumps may stick around longer than anticipated or keep coming back.

Factors like prolonged sun exposure, use of oil-based cosmetics and skincare products, or certain skin conditions can trigger recurrent bouts of milia.

And here’s where things get interesting: while age doesn’t play favorites when it comes to getting milia, older adults may find that their bumps hang around longer due simply to slower skin regeneration rates.

What Can I Expect If I Have Milia?

Milia, those pesky little bumps that appear on your skin can sometimes be stubborn to get rid of. When you’ve got milia, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with and how to handle it.

If the bumps persist and don’t clear up on their own, it’s time for a chat with your healthcare provider. They might recommend scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist or trying new exfoliating techniques. These methods can help speed up the process of getting rid of milia.

One thing is certain: some types of milia are more persistent than others. In fact, they can hang around for several weeks to months!

What Are Some Of The Treatment Options?

While it’s perfectly fine to let Milia run their course and disappear independently after a few weeks or months, you might feel compelled to expedite the process. However, resist the temptation to pick at or pop the milia, which could lead to scarring or infection.

If you’re concerned about your appearance due to milia, there are several steps you can take toward treatment.

An over-the-counter exfoliating cosmetic containing salicylic acidalpha hydroxy acid, or a retinoid, such as retinol, can help remove dead skin cells aiding in the elimination of milia.

Babies’ skin is far too delicate for such treatments. Instead, gently wash your baby’s face with warm water and baby soap daily and pat dry. Patience is key here – simply wait for the milia to clear.

It may be time for professional intervention for stubborn cases where milia refuse to vanish on their own or through over-the-counter exfoliation treatment.

A dermatologist can perform a simple procedure in-office that involves surgically removing the pesky white bumps.

Remember: while unsightly, milia pose no harm and often don’t require any treatment at all! But if they’re causing distress due to aesthetic reasons, discuss removal options with your healthcare provider:

  • Over-the-counter adapalene gel application
  • Prescription tretinoin cream usage
  • Surgical removal by puncturing each millium (individual cyst) and extracting contents
  • Cryotherapy, which freezes off each millium
  • Medicated creams use
  • Antibiotic minocycline treatments for more serious cases like ‘milia en plaque’

Home Remedies: Can You Treat Milia At Home?

Sure, you’re looking for ways to handle Milia at home. You’ve probably come across various remedies, from cinnamon and honey to rose extracts.

However, remember that while these ingredients are known for their antibacterial properties, little research supports their effectiveness against milia.

So, let’s focus on practices that can help manage and prevent these tiny bumps from taking over your skin:

  • Daily cleaning is essential. Stick with a mild soap – one designed for sensitive skin would be perfect.
  • Steam it up: A steamy shower isn’t just relaxing; it also opens up your pores.
  • Exfoliate periodically: Don’t overdo this, though, as daily exfoliation can cause more harm than good.
  • Topical retinoids: these are derived from Vitamin A and are available in the form of creams or gels in the market. Originally intended for acne treatment, they might be beneficial for Milia too!
  • Salicylic Acid (BHA) or Glycolic Acid (AHA): Salicylic acid works by breaking down dead skin cells, which block pores, and Glycolic acid improves the appearance of the skin. 
  • Sunscreen: Never underestimate the power of a good sunscreen – an SPF 50+ is recommended!
  • Never Try To Pop: Tempting as it might be, popping milia isn’t the way to go. It’s not like popping pimples; in fact, it could lead to scarring or infection.
  • Is Manuka Honey Remedy You Need? Manuka honey has antibacterial properties that could potentially benefit those with milia. Applying a thin layer on your face might just do the trick!

Professional Treatment Options For Milia

If you’re seeking ways to get rid of milia, it’s worth noting that there are several effective clinical treatments available. Let’s delve deeper into these options.

  • Curettage: In this process, a dermatologist will numb the area around your milia before ‘scooping’ them out and using a hot wire to seal the skin. It might sound intimidating, but rest assured that professionals perform this procedure with precision and care.
  • De-roofing/Extraction: Here, the milia are carefully removed using a sterile needle or blade. While it requires skill and accuracy, it can provide effective results in getting rid of those pesky white bumps on your skin.
  • Cryotherapy: which involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze off the milia. Be aware, though – you may experience some blistering and swelling after treatment, but these side effects should clear up within a few days.
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing: Laser treatments can help by vaporizing the bumps, removing the outer layers of skin, and stimulating new skin growth.
  • Chemical Peel: Chemical peels remove the top layer of your skin and could be effective in treating milia. It’s best to discuss this option with a dermatologist first, though!
  • Electrocautery: Electrocautery uses heat to burn off the milia. This method might sound intense, but it is actually quite common.

Doctors may recommend an oral antibiotic called minocycline for more stubborn cases like milia en plaque and other types of persistent milia. This medication has proven its effectiveness against such resilient skin issues.

While all these procedures offer promising solutions in treating milia, it’s important to remember that. Except for minocycline (which is taken orally), they could potentially cause scarring – even if only temporarily.

The good news? Long-term scarring or serious side effects from these professional treatments are very rare indeed!

How Can You Prevent Milia?

While it’s true that you can’t prevent most cases of milia, especially neonatal milia, there are still steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing certain types of this skin condition later in life.

One important measure is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Sun damage not only contributes to premature aging and skin cancer but also increases your odds of developing milia. So don’t forget to apply good sunscreen before heading out, even on cloudy days.

Another prevention strategy involves being careful with thick facial creams or ointments. While they might seem like a good idea for dry skin, these heavy products can actually clog your pores and lead to the formation of milia.

If you’re prone to this condition, it may be worth considering lighter alternatives or using these products sparingly. Steroids are another potential trigger for milia if used longer than your healthcare provider prescribes.

These powerful drugs can alter the balance in your skin, leading to unwanted side effects, including an increased risk of milia. So, ensure you stick strictly with the recommended duration when using any steroid-based treatments.

Lastly, consider incorporating regular exfoliation into your skincare routine or using a cleanser on your skin frequently.

This will help keep dead cells from building up and blocking pores – which is often what triggers milia in the first place!

Prevention StrategyDetails
Sun ProtectionAvoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen
Use Lighter ProductsConsider lighter alternatives instead of thick facial creams/ointments
Proper Steroid UsageDo not use steroids longer than prescribed
Regular Exfoliation/CleansingFrequently exfoliate or cleanse skin

While we can’t always control whether we get conditions like milia, we do have some power over our own habits that contribute towards their occurrence!

How To Get Rid Of Milia On Face

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve made it this far, so you’re clearly serious about tackling your milia problem head-on. But before we wrap up, let’s take a moment to address some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

What Makes Milia Worse?

Several factors can contribute to the worsening of milia or make them more persistent:

  1. Heavy or Comedogenic Skincare Products: Using skincare products that contain heavy oils or ingredients that are known to be comedogenic (tend to clog pores) can exacerbate milia. These products can trap dead skin cells and keratin, leading to the formation of new milia or the enlargement of existing ones. Check your products with our pore-clogging ingredients checker.
  2. Lack of Proper Skincare: Inadequate skincare routines, such as not cleansing or exfoliating regularly, can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells, which can contribute to milia formation.
  3. Sun Damage: Prolonged sun exposure without adequate sun protection can damage the skin and cause an increase in milia. Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays with sunscreen can help prevent this.
  4. Squeezing or Picking Milia: Attempting to pop or remove Milia at home can lead to skin trauma, inflammation, and potential infection. It’s best to leave milia removal to dermatologists or skincare professionals.
  5. Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing milia. If milia are common in your family, you may be more prone to experiencing them.
  6. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy, can affect skin health and potentially trigger or worsen milia.
  7. Certain Medical Conditions: Some skin conditions, like epidermolysis bullosa or porphyria cutanea tarda, can increase the likelihood of milia development.
  8. Age: Milia can be more common in infants but can also occur in adults. They may become more noticeable with age due to slower skin cell turnover.

Is It Safe To Squeeze Milia?

Nope! It’s tempting, but resist the urge to play dermatologist. Popping them at home can lead to scarring or infection.

Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Milia?

While milia are primarily caused by trapped skin cells and keratin, there is no direct evidence to suggest that vitamin deficiency is a primary cause of milia. However, maintaining good skin health through proper nutrition is essential.

Vitamins A and D are known to play a role in skin health, and some nutritionists believe that these vitamins could indirectly influence the development of milia. A balanced diet with these vitamins can help maintain healthy skin.

It’s important to remember that milia are more commonly associated with factors like improper skin care, genetics, or using heavy, pore-clogging products.

Is It Bad To Remove Milia On Your Own?

Removing milia on your own can be risky and is generally not recommended. Milia removal is best left to professionals, such as dermatologists or licensed estheticians, who can safely extract them using sterile tools.

Attempting to remove milia at home can lead to infection, scarring, or skin damage. That’s not what we want, right?!

What Will Dissolve Milia?

Dermatological treatments are often used to dissolve milia. These treatments may include:

  • Topical Retinoids: Prescription-strength topical retinoids, like tretinoin, can help accelerate skin cell turnover, which can gradually reduce milia.
  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels with ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid can help exfoliate the skin and may assist in milia removal.
  • Laser Therapy: Certain laser treatments can target and break down milia, especially if they are stubborn or numerous.

What Draws Out Milia?

To help prevent and manage milia, it’s crucial to maintain a proper skincare routine. While specific products don’t “draw out” milia, the following practices can be helpful:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation with mild exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can prevent the buildup of dead skin cells that contribute to milia formation.
  • Non-comedogenic Products: Use skincare and makeup products labeled as non-comedogenic, which are less likely to clog pores and lead to milia.
  • Proper Hydration: Keeping your skin well-hydrated can contribute to a healthy skin barrier and may reduce the likelihood of milia formation.
  • Sun Protection: Always use sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage, which can worsen skin conditions like milia.

Remember, if you’re dealing with persistent milia or have concerns about your skincare routine, consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice.

Conclusion On How To Get Rid Of Milia On Face

Milia, those pesky little white bumps that appear on your face can be quite a nuisance. However, by following the steps and tips discussed throughout this article, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to deal with them effectively.

Firstly, remember that a consistent skincare routine is key. Ensure you’re regularly cleansing and exfoliating your skin to prevent dead skin buildup.

If milia persists despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from dermatologists or aestheticians who can safely remove them.

While popping these tiny cysts yourself at home is tempting, resist the urge! Doing so may lead to scarring or infection, which is far worse than dealing with milia in the first place.

Here’s a quick recap of our main points:

  • Maintain a regular skincare routine;
  • Seek professional help if needed;
  • Don’t attempt DIY removals.

Remember that prevention is better than cure – so take proactive measures such as wearing sunscreen daily and using non-comedogenic products to keep milia at bay in the future.

You’ve taken great strides towards understanding how to eliminate milia today – stick with it! In time, you’ll see improvements as long as consistency remains part of your approach.

Articles Sources

We want you to know that the information in this article is meant to be informative, but it’s no substitute for chatting with a healthcare pro. If you have any concerns about your health or a specific condition, do yourself a favor and reach out to a qualified medical expert.

We do our best to keep things accurate and up-to-date, but the world moves fast. To get the latest and most reliable info, consider checking out the sources we’ve used in this article:

  1. Michele Farber, MD | Schweiger Dermatology Group.
  2. Milia – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.
  3. Healthline, How to Get Rid of Milia: 7 Ways. Medically reviewed by Sara Perkins, MD — By Kathryn Watson — Updated on February 23, 2023.
  4. Very Well Health, The 7 Best Milia Removal Techniques. By Angela Palmer. Updated on May 02, 2023. Medically reviewed by William Truswell, MD.
  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Is That Acne on My Baby’s Face?
  6. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Are Milia?
  7. Berk DR, Bayliss SJ. Milia: a review and classification. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Dec;59(6):1050-63.
  8. Cleveland Clinic. Milia. Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/10/2022.

We’ve tapped into these sources to create this content, and they can dive deeper into the topics we’ve covered. Remember, though, always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice and recommendations.

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