Small white bumps or cysts under the surface of the skin are known as milia. This common skin condition can happen in newborns and adults.
Treatment isn’t necessarily required as these bumps are usually harmless and tend to go away on their own. The condition often lasts only several weeks, especially in babies.
Milia aren’t a type of acne although they’re often confused with whiteheads that are a type of acne characterized by white bumps on the face.
One cyst is called milium and milia is the plural word used to describe these milk spots. There are several types of milia, including primary, secondary, neonatal, juvenile, multiple eruptive, etc.
Making appropriate skin care changes may help speed up their removal and reduce the risk of future formation. If you notice milia on your face, make sure you avoid doing certain things to prevent complications.
Below, check out the do’s and don’ts of milia.
The Do’s & Don’ts if You Or Your Baby Have Milia
- Never pick, poke, or try to remove them
Milia should never be poked or removed. This is because there’s a risk of bleeding, scabs, and scars. Scraping the area may also increase the risk of bacteria and infections.
If your baby has milia and they’re younger than six months, it’s best to leave the bumps as they are. If you’re still worried, your child’s pediatrician will provide the best advice.
- Cleaning is essential
If you have milia, washing your face regularly using a paraben-free and gentle soap daily is important.
Stronger soaps will remove the natural oils from the face and mess up the skin’s balance. After washing the skin, pat it dry to prevent drying out and chafing.
- Gentle exfoliation may help
Gentle skin exfoliation may help keep milia-causing irritants at bay. Some exfoliators may also prevent the overproduction of keratin in the skin.
When you’re looking for an exfoliator, make sure it has citric acid, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid.
Avoid over-exfoliating the skin: once per week is usually sufficient.
- Try a facial peel
Facial peels with exfoliating agents may help with milia but always use them cautiously. Avoid facial peels that are too strong for the skin because they may contribute to more milia.
If you’ve already used a facial peel in your skincare routine, it’s probably safe to continue using it and it may promote milia-free skin.
If you’ve never used them before, don’t resort to them for milia only because your skin may be sensitive to the ingredients in it and they can end up worsening the bumps.
- Introduce a retinoid cream
Topical retinoid creams may help eliminate milia. These creams contain vitamin A which is a crucial vitamin for healthy skin.
Retinoid or retinol creams should be used only once per day after you’ve cleaned your face.
- Don’t forget a sunscreen
If you’re using retinoid or retinol creams, don’t forget the sunscreen. This is because these creams can increase the risk of skin damage caused by the sun. sunscreen will also lower skin irritation which increases the risk of milia.
Opt for sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. The mineral oil-based sunscreens are the most skin-friendly option because they don’t clog the skin.
Most milia go away in babies in a couple of weeks. But, this isn’t necessarily the case in adults. If you have excessive milia or recurring milia, consult your dermatologist.
Sometimes, a dermatologist may use tiny specialized needles to remove these bumps manually and allow the skin to heal quickly.