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What Is Milia and How Do We Treat It?


If you’re like the rest of us then you are probably bummed by these pesky white bumps that suddenly appear on your face out of nowhere. Turns out these intruders actually have a name – and a cute one at that…Milia! So what exactly are they and is there any way we can get rid of them without scarring our faces first?? Read below….


What Are They?

Milia are not pimples they’re cysts that are filled with keratin and they form because our skin is sometimes unable to exfoliate itself naturally in certain areas. Don’t try to pop them as nothing will come out and you will end up only damaging the surrounding skin. They are most commonly found around the nose, cheeks, and eyes and they affect everyone from babies to adults. There is some research that associates milia with some genetic conditions such as Rombo syndrome, and Gardener syndrome.


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Why Do They Appear?

There are a number of reasons that can affect the appearance of milia, chronic sun exposure as a main culprit as well as clogged pores due to makeup residue or using the wrong skincare products or some topical medications. However, the presence of milia is most often found alongside certain skin conditions such as rosacea and dandruff. Milia can also appear if the skin suffers from trauma due to burns or blisters. Trauma to the skin traps the keratin under the skin which results in the appearance of these whiteheads. Once treated they might take between a few weeks to a few months to disappear.


What About Prevention and Treatment?

Unfortunately milia cannot be prevented as those who are prone to getting them will do. However, there are ways to treat them but most importantly don’t pick at them. Aim to use gentle exfoliators and avoid harsh scrubs and make sure anything you use on your skin is “non-comedogenic” so it does not clog pores. You might want to steer clear of petroleum jelly as it can be quite heavy on the skin. Additionally look for products that encourage cell turnover such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid and retinol. And most importantly, apply sunscreen generously. If you’ve tried all of the above and the stubborn ones persist, you might need to consult a dermatologist as they can be treated with a scalpel, laser or heated needles.

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