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What Is Milia and How Do You Treat It?

Milia is often confused as acne (whiteheads)- which it is not. It is a type of skin condition that many people will get at some point of their lives. These tiny bumps can show up based on various factors:

photo courtesy of KARLEY ZIEGLER MOTT

These tiny bumps are often small in size, hard, and usually appear around the eyes, cheeks and sometimes on the nose. They develop when dead skin cells that shed they tend to build up and become trapped below the skin surface (epidermis) with a protein called keratin within the sweat glands and hair follicles and form into those hard bumps (cysts) that doesn’t go away. Both men and women of any age group can get it; even babies but in a condition a pediatrician may call “milk spots”.

Common causes for milia can under exfoliating or from the cosmetics / beauty products you are using. The ingredients can be very clogging and not allow proper shedding. Ingredients such as: hydrogenated oils, corn oil and waxes. Keep in mind the area around the eye do not have any oil glands so use of heavy creams or makeup around and not properly removed can contribute. Even sun can be the culprit if you already suffer from sun damage your skin is much thicker which prevents the skin from shedding on its own naturally.

Sometimes they can resolve on their own when you cease the use of certain products but more than often you’ll need some assistance by using products to help encourage their disappearance. Limiting your consumption oh high cholesterol and increase your Vitamin D can help with the resolution. Skin products with lactic acid, glycolic acid, or fruit acids will gently, yet effectively exfoliate dead skin cells or retinol (never use if milia is on your eyelid – you need to a professional for removal). Skin Script’s Retinol 2% Exfoliating Scrub/Mask is one I recommend to my clients; moreover, a trip to your Skin Specialist for a microdermabrasion or peel may help or to your dermatologist to remove it safely by a lancing it. NEVER try to extract it on your own. You may cause further damage to your skin and increase the chance of infection or scarring.

NOTE: Milia is not a dangerous condition and causes no discomfort, pain, or stinging. ref: Darling, Laura. October 2017.

Here’s a great article that inspired this post: What Is Milia and How Do You Treat It?.

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