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Skin Focus: Milia



Have you ever noticed this skin condition: small white bumps around your eyes? At first glance, they may look like whiteheads, but as soon as you attempt to squeeze you realize they’re hard and nearly impossible to extract. That’s because they’re not pimples at all. They’re cysts called Milia.

Milia are commonly found on the faces of infants and adults. On infants, the bumps are mistakenly referred to as baby acne. They usually occur on the nose and cheeks and will clear up on their own as the baby gets older.

On adults, these white bumps are usually found around the eyes, on the cheeks, forehead and sometimes around the border of the lips. Unfortunately, Milia on adults does not clear up on its own and usually needs a little persuasion.

Milia are formed when dead skin gets trapped in the hair follicle (pore). They manifest as a small round white, keratin-filled pocket on the skin’s surface.

The best way to prevent Milia is to avoid heavy skin care products or cosmetics. Most Milia that occur around the eyes or lips are due to cosmetic products. Look for products that are non-comedogenic, which usually means they do not contain pore-clogging oils.

Because sun damage thickens the skin, making it more difficult for skin cells to shed, sunscreen is another way to prevent Milia from forming. Make sure to select a sunscreen moisturizer that will not clog pores.

However, even when following the advice above, many people may continue to get Milia simply because their skin needs additional help with exfoliation. Gentle face scrubs and chemical exfoliators can help the skin to renew itself without clogging pores.

If you already have Milia, there are limited options for removing them at home. If you’re patient, daily exfoliation will eventually help these cysts to work their own way out of the pores. Vitamin A creams also help to speed the skin’s exfoliation process.
If you’re not so patient, then you will need to visit an esthetician or a dermatologist to have the Milia safely removed. Usually, this involves piercing the skin and using an extractor. A professional will use sterile tools and the proper topical treatments to prevent infection.

If you are determined to extract them at home, here are a few rules:

First, never attempt to extract the Milia around your eyes or lips. The skin is very fragile and you will end up doing more harm than good.

Second, you must use a sterile needle to pierce the skin, a sterile comedone extractor to remove the cyst, and, once you’ve removed the cyst, make sure to clean the skin with hydrogen peroxide.

Third, if the cyst does not come out after your first attempt, do not try again, you will only do more damage. Give up and visit a professional.

Have any of you found products that get rid of Milia? Please share.

For receomdations from our online esthetician on how to treat Milia check out this Skin Care Question and Answer.


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