Milia are benign cysts composed of keratin that do not leave permanent scarring; however, their presence may be disturbing if numerous or clustered on one area of the face. Squeezing or picking at them could lead to inflammation and infection of that region of skin.
A dermatologist or skin care professional can help to remove them safely, using gentle exfoliation and an effective skincare regime to keep milia at bay and stop its reappearance.
It can appear anywhere on the skin, most commonly on the forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and genital area. Unlike whiteheads or acne, this condition does not cause itching and does not spread contagiously. Instead of hard bumps like whiteheads or acne; these hard, bumpy bumps feel like small pieces of grit under your skin that often form clusters and remain relatively small in size.
Newborns commonly develop neonatal milia (also referred to as milk spots) around the nose shortly after birth; these typically disappear without needing treatment within weeks after birth and do not need further investigation. Primary milia can occur in both children and adults alike and usually appear around or inside of the nose or in its folds or crevices – sometimes within a few weeks, sometimes they last months before they disappear on their own.
Milialar can be caused by certain blistering diseases, including Porphyria Cutanea Tarda or Epidermolysis Bullosa, or as an adverse side effect from drugs like Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors for treating cancer or strong corticosteroids.
Milia are tiny white bumps with hard surfaces that typically form round bumps. Milia can affect people of all skin types and ages, although newborns are especially prone. Milia can appear anywhere on the nose, cheeks, chin, scalp, trunk or limbs as well as inside of mouth; unlike acne they do not produce redness, inflammation or pus.
Milia can usually go away on its own in newborns; however, for those wishing to treat them more aggressively there are various treatments available.
Try switching up your skincare routine to use oil-free or noncomedogenic cleansers that help prevent the clogging of pores with antimicrobial cleansers, exfoliate regularly to increase cell turnover and avoid picking or squeezing milia (which could lead to infection and scarring), use topical retinoid cream if you tend to get them, to increase cell turnover and decrease their chances of formation; consult with a skin care professional for a customized plan of care.
Milia typically clear up on their own over several weeks or months; if not, however, there are various treatments that may help clear them away.
Milia often appears as a result of contact with certain cosmetic products such as liquid paraffin, petroleum jelly and petrolatum, as well as steroids creams or lanolin. If this happens to you, speak to your healthcare provider who may perform a visual exam and/or suggest getting more information through a skin lesion biopsy procedure.
Do not attempt to pop milia on yourself (or your baby’s), as this can lead to scarring and infection. Instead, avoid thick creams or oil-based cosmetics on the area, exfoliating two to three times per week and using topical salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid products can help keep pores unclogged by breaking up trapped keratin protein inside pores; while adding prescription retinoid products may encourage healthy cell turnover which will lower your chance of future milia formation.
Milia typically go away on its own in newborns and rarely cause long-term issues in both children and adults, although some individuals may continue experiencing them for weeks or even months.
Milia can be avoided by selecting non-comedogenic and oil-free skincare products, avoiding thick or occlusive creams, and protecting the skin from excess sun exposure. Washing hands before touching your face and taking extra care when taking off makeup are both key steps towards keeping dirt from spreading onto skin, which could otherwise lead to its formation and eventual milia formation.
If milia are negatively impacting your quality of life or don’t respond to home treatments, consulting with a dermatologist for personalized recommendations of treatment options such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, cryotherapy (freezing the milia), prescription-strength exfoliants or cryotherapy may be recommended by them to promote natural shedding and avoid future formation of new ones.