Understanding Milia: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

milia removal

When it comes to achieving clear and healthy skin, there are many hurdles to cross. From clearing hyperpigmentation and acne spots to treating pimples and other skin reactions, there seems to be an unending list of skin issues.

Among the many skin issues people face is milia, which often appears as white or yellow bumps on the nose, cheeks, and eyelids. These cyst-like skin bumps are stubborn to get rid of and can be caused by several reasons. Here's all you need to know about how to get rid of Milia.

What is Milia?

Before we discuss the multiple treatments available, what is Milia? Milia appear as white or yellowish cysts or bumps in the skin and are usually found on the face, although they can appear anywhere in the body. Many dermatologists affirm that Milia develops when dead skin cells get trapped below the skin, creating a small, elevated ball. The inside of a small bumps on skin caused by Milia contains protein and keratin buildup of the skin and hair.

The white bumps on face can be as large as 2 mm and may be smaller in certain areas of the body. Milia can develop in anyone and is most common in newborns. More than half of infants will experience Milia newborn bumps, and luckily, they clear off without treatment within a few weeks.

In adults, Milia bumps last much longer and may sometimes leave with treatment. Although they are bothersome and can appear even in the groin and genital area, Milia is non-contagious and can be removed by a professional if need be.

Different types of Milia

There are different types of Milia bumps in different individuals, and they are broadly divided into two categories: primary and secondary Milia.

Primary Milia

Primary Milia is mostly seen in infants and sometimes adults. It is due to the skin bearing vellus hair follicles; hence, infants and adults develop white bumps on the face and white bumps on lips. Common types of primary Milia include:

Neonatal Milia

Neonatal Milia, or 'milk spots’ are Milia on forehead and other parts of a newborn baby. The appearance of this skin condition is due to the incomplete development of an infant's sweat glands, which makes them susceptible to blockage.

Milia en plaque (MEP)

This is a rare Millia appearance that affects older women, particularly those between the ages of 40 and 70. Milia en plaque develops as a clump of skin cysts on the skin and can grow to several centimeters.

Multiple eruptive Milia

Multiple eruptive Milia is yet another rare Milia condition that develops with an itchy reaction. People with multiple eruptive Milia on chin or other parts of the body experience uncomfortable itchiness, which can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Secondary Milia

Secondary Milia appear after an injury or skin trauma affects the sweat glands. They can also be due to the use of certain creams and lotions containing topical steroids. The following are types of secondary Milia:

Disease-associated Milia

There are Milia bumps associated with blistering skin diseases like epidermolysis bullosa or genetic and autoimmune skin disorders like discoid lupus and lichen planus, respectively. Other diseases associated with milia appearance include Rombo syndrome, Bazex-Dupre-Christol syndrome, basal cell naevus syndrome, and Gardner syndrome.

Medication-associated Milia

Likewise, there are Milia associated with the use of certain medications, especially topical medications with steroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Trauma-associated Milia

Milia skin can arise due to several skin traumas or treatments, such as laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, skin grafts, or skin burns.

Milia symptoms

Milia is often mistaken for other skin conditions due to its appearance. Oftentimes, people assume the appearance of Milia on face or Milia on eyelid to be syringomas. Both syringomas and milia appear as small white bumps, but syringomas are elevated seat gland growth. The following are Milia symptoms found in both kids and adults:

  • Yellow or white bumps around eyes or on the face.
  • Small bumps around eyes that appear in clusters
  • Bumps with no discomfort
  • Bump appearance with itchiness
  • Elevated bumps on the skin

What causes Milia?

In an endless pursuit to know what causes Milia, dermatologists have yet to provide an actual cause. Although there are suggestions that point towards trauma or damage to the skin barrier, prompting the depositing of keratin and dead cells beneath the skin, Others point to the use of oil-based products that clog the skin.

The occurrence of certain skin blistering diseases may also affect Milia. Alongside this, the use of topical steroids and tyrosine kinase inhibitors can contribute to the development of milia around eyes or milia under eyes.

Milia Removal Techniques

If you notice small bumps around eyes or any other parts of the body and they match the exact description of milia, you must get them removed professionally. There are different milia treatments to choose from, and they include:

OTC products

A quick Milia removal technique is to opt for OTC products containing active compounds like glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells. Certain acne treatments, like adalene, can also exfoliate the skin. However, Milia extraction with OTC products may take a long time before you see any positive effect.

Manual extraction

This Milia treatment is often done by a professional and involves making a tiny opening on the small bumps around eyes or other parts of your skin, then using a comedone extractor to clean the debris. This procedure, called deroofing, may sound painful or invasive, but it is not painful, and the worst you may feel is a pinch.

Since the result of deroofing is instant, this Milia removal procedure is perfect if you develop Milia on lips or other obvious places on your skin. When you search for Milia removal near me, you will most likely meet online professionals that offer additional Milia treatments that are similar to deroofing. These treatments range from laser ablation, curettage, and cryotherapy.

Topical prescription

If you are more likely to develop molia on your skin, dermatologists will often recommend a topical exfoliant like retinoid that removes debris buildup and milia on nose. Some may pair it with an oral antibiotic like Vibramycin or Oracea for people with rare and several milia types.

milia bumps

How to get rid of milia at home

A common recurring question is: How do you get rid of Milia on the face at home? While no verified treatment can cure Milia, certain home remedies can minimize the appearance of Milia, and they are:

  • Do not poke or pick on your Milia bumps to avoid infection or scarring.
  • Cleanse and exfoliate the skin regularly to get rid of excess keratin and skin debris. We recommend Dermaclara Claraprep Hydrating Cleanser, a noncomedogenic cleanser and a washcloth to effectively remove trapped debris.
  • Follow by steaming your face or running a hot shower at home.
  • Prepare your skin by spritzing with rose water or using a manuka honey face mask. Ensure you do this regularly.
  • Include alpha-hydroxy acids in your skin regimen.
milia treatment

How to Prevent Milia

If you are prone to Milia, you must know how to prevent Milia from reappearing. These preventive measures do not guarantee the disappearance of future Milia bumps; instead, they reduce the chances of their reappearance.

  • Avoid comedogenic products, especially those with a thick consistency. Instead opt for non-comedogenic products.
  • Exfoliate regularly, preferably 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
  • Cleanse and steam your face regularly to prevent keratin buildup.
how to get rid of milia

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