If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia. No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!
Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.
So what options are available?
First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate. If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.
Now, on to the treatment. Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming. Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help. If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.
Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?
During my free time, I love learning more about the skincare industry, whether it’s through reading articles or attending advanced education classes. Yesterday, I spent my day at the International Dermal Institute (IDI) which serves as a post-graduate education center for licensed estheticians to expand their knowledge in this constant evolving industry. IDI is also where the ingredient research and product development of the Dermalogica skin care line happens.
I absolutely love spending time here! The staff and instructors are very helpful and knowledgeable, and highly respected industry professionals like Dr. Diana Howard and Annet King can be seen giving speeches or sitting in on some classes. This time I took Skin Analysis 101 which covered what comprises an effective skin analysis, the importance of consultation cards (imperative whenever you get treatments!), a brief overview on understanding how the skin works, skin types vs skin conditions and skin disorders. After the theory portion concluded came the fun part: hands on!
We all got to analyze each other’s skin using a magnifying lamp, a Woods lamp, and a skin scanner.
The magnifying lamp magnifies the face to help the esthetician treat and analyze the skin.
The Wood’s lamp is a hand-held device that uses filtered black light to illuminate skin problems, fungi, bacterial disorders and pigmentation issues.
The skin scanner is like a Wood’s lamp in that it utilizes advanced black-light technology to help identify various skin conditions in vivid florescent colors; however, this machine is a lot bigger and both the esthetician and the client can see how their skin appears under the black light. There’s something pretty cool (and scary!) about seeing your skin in an up close way that is not ordinarily visible to the naked eye.
Once we finished analyzing each other’s skin, we did a quick recap of what we learned and were given our certificates of completion. I earned 6 class hours for today’s class, giving me an overall total of 33 hours at IDI! I am 67 hours away from completing 100 hours and earning an IDI Certificate of Achievement.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time?