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Milia

What is Milia?

These are tiny white bumps that will appear around or on your nose or chin, but they can also appear on your forehead and cheeks. Although they are most commonly found in newborns because of their immature sebaceous glands they can happen at any age. Approximately fifty percent of newborns have milia at some point in their early life. Although most are found below your skin there are some that can occur on your mucous membranes.

Types

There are two types of milia:

  • Primary – this is when the dead skin accumulates in small pockets on the surface of your skin and form tiny white bumps
  • Secondary – this is when the milia have formed small cysts and can be found in the damaged areas of your skin like where there has been trauma or excessive sun exposure.

Symptoms of Milia

Milia looks like a tiny yellowish-white bump that has the shape of a dome. They are approximately one to two millimeters in size and are in the form of a small lesion that fills with fluid.

Causes

Milia are set deeply into the person’s skin and are caused by skin cells that get trapped near your skin’s surface in small pockets. These skin cells would shed naturally, but if they become blocked, they will form tiny cysts that are keratin-filled. This gives them the appearance of small white beads that are just below your skin. Babies are born with milia, but if you get it as an adult there are other causes which are:

  • Using oily, heavy skin care products
  • Being overexposed to the sun for an extended period
  • Some skin disorders may cause milia, especially the ones that can cause blistering of your skin
  • Disruption of your sweat glands
  • Because of genetics
  • Not applying an adequate amount of cream or gel while you are shaving
  • Shaving to hard or too fast
  • Being allergic to the shaving cream you are using

Treatment

Milia does not hurt, so the best treatment for newborns with milia is to wash the affected areas on the baby’s face with warm water at least two to three times a day. Pat their face dry but do not rub it. Most of the time milia will fade away on its own as the surface of your skin is worn away gradually. If you are an adult and want to get rid of them fast, you can try exfoliation to keep others from forming and make the milia go away quicker. Exfoliation is where you get rid of the old dead skin cells on the outer layer of your skin through chemical or mechanical means. To do it mechanically you would scrub your skin with an abrasive like micro-bead facials, loofahs, microfiber cloths, or even your fingernails. To do it chemically you would need to see your dermatologist because they use scrubs that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, fruit enzymes, malic acid, etc. in high concentrations. If you want to do it chemically at home you can get products with these ingredients but at a much lower concentration.

If you notice that you are developing milia after shaving you should switch to shaving products made for gentle skin. Also when you start to notice these white bumps do not try to remove them because they can leave a scar. If you have primary milia, it will just take a few weeks to heal on its own so no treatment will be necessary.

Milia Pictures

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Milia
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