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What is Milia?

Milia are small, white or yellowish bumps that appear on the skin, often around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. They're caused by keratin, a protein in the skin, getting trapped beneath the surface. Milia aren't harmful and usually clear up without treatment. However, if they cause discomfort or cosmetic concern, consult a dermatologist.
Statistics of Milia

Milia by the Numbers: A Statistical Snapshot

40–50% of newborns in the U.S. have milia. However, anyone of any age, gender, or ethnicity can get milia. [1]

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Ask an Expert, Dr. Vi Sharma

Medical Director | Gen.Reg- MED0001665706

Key Facts

Fast Facts On Milia

Milia, small white or yellowish bumps on the skin, can appear at any age but are most common in newborns. They’re typically found on the face, especially around the eyes and cheeks.
Despite being harmless, milia can be persistent and may take weeks or even months to disappear naturally without treatment.
Skin damage from burns, blisters, long-term sun exposure or certain types of skin resurfacing procedures can lead to secondary milia – a variant that’s not as common as primary milia (the type seen in babies).
While they don’t cause physical discomfort or pose any serious health risks, many people seek removal for cosmetic reasons due to their appearance on prominent areas like the face.
Dermatologists can remove milia through various methods such as de-roofing (using a sterile needle), cryotherapy (freezing them off), laser ablation or diathermy (electrically induced heat).
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All You Need to Know About Milia

Understanding Milia: An Overview

Milia are tiny, benign cysts that often appear as small white or yellowish bumps on the skin’s surface. These cysts are common and can occur in people of all ages. Milia develop when dead skin cells become trapped in hair follicles or sweat ducts.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of milia, exploring their nature, causes, removal options, and skincare considerations.

Identifying the Symptoms of Milia

The primary symptom of milia is the presence of small, dome-shaped bumps on the skin. These bumps are typically white or yellow and can occur on the face, eyelids, cheeks, or other areas of the body.

Causes and Risk Factors of Milia

Understanding the causes and risk factors of milia is essential:

  • Blocked Sweat Ducts: Milia often develop when sweat ducts become blocked, preventing the release of sweat and skin cells.
  • Skin Damage: Skin damage, such as sunburn or injury, can lead to the formation of milia.
  • Use of Heavy Skincare Products: The use of heavy or greasy skincare products can contribute to the development of milia, especially on the face.

Different Types and Stages of Milia

Milia are typically categorized into the following types:

  • Primary Milia: These are the most common type and occur spontaneously in people of all ages.
  • Secondary Milia: These develop as a result of skin damage, injury, or certain skin conditions, such as bullous pemphigoid.

Diagnosis: How Milia are Identified

Milia are usually diagnosed through visual examination by a dermatologist. In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other skin conditions.

Treatment Options for Milia

Milia often do not require treatment and may resolve on their own over time. However, some treatment options are available:

  • Extraction: A dermatologist can safely extract milia using a sterile needle or scalpel.
  • Topical Retinoids: Prescription-strength retinoids may help speed up the shedding of dead skin cells, preventing the formation of milia.
  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels can exfoliate the skin’s surface, aiding in the removal of milia.

Prevention Strategies for Milia

Preventing milia involves adopting good skincare practices:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Regular exfoliation with mild exfoliants can help prevent the buildup of dead skin cells.
  • Non-Comedogenic Products: Use non-comedogenic skincare products to minimize the risk of clogged pores.
  • Sun Protection: Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, which can contribute to milia formation.

Home Remedies and Self-Care for Milia

While home remedies are not typically recommended for milia removal, proper skincare can support overall skin health:

  • Cleansing: Gently cleanse your face twice a day to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells.
  • Moisturizing: Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores.

Impact of Milia on Skin Health

Milia are generally harmless and do not have a significant impact on skin health. They are primarily a cosmetic concern for many individuals.

Long-Term Skin Care Considerations

Maintaining a consistent skincare routine, including gentle cleansing and moisturizing, can help prevent the development of milia and support overall skin health.

In conclusion, understanding milia, their causes, removal options, prevention strategies, and their impact on skin health is important for maintaining clear and healthy skin. Consulting with a dermatologist is advisable if you have concerns about milia or any changes in your skin.

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