What the Milia?

milia

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?