5 Things You Need to Know About Milia (Including WTF It Even Is)

Out, damned spot!

Ever noticed little hard skin-colour, white or yellow bumps on your face that won’t budge, no matter what you do? It’s probably milia and, from one sufferer to another, I feel your pain. But what is it and what can be done to treat and prevent it? Here’s what you need to know.

A Million Milia

Milia – known in their singular form as milium, or sometimes as milk spots – are little bumps on your skin which are often mistaken for whiteheads. Unlike whiteheads, however, you can’t remove them yourself with a bit of squeezing because you will be in pain and literally scarred for life (trust me!). What they are is a mixture of keratin (the stuff that our hair and nails are made of) and dead skin cells that have accumulated under the skin. It can be caused either by your pores not getting rid of build-up themselves, or by some kind of trauma to the skin, such as sleeping with your makeup, sun damage or using products that your skin doesn’t like. It’s picky like that.

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Often mistaken for whiteheads, milia are hard, white/yellow, pearl-like bumps filled with dead skin cells and keratin. They are nicknamed “milk spots” since sometimes newborn babies get them too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ They are typically found around the eye area – included eyelids, nose or upper cheeks but really can appear anywhere on your face. There are two type and causes of milia – primary and secondary. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Primary Milia Dead skin cells get trapped in the pore and the build-up doesn’t “self-exfoliate” so it forms a tiny cyst. (Why it’s common for them to form around the eye area is because we typically don’t exfoliate there!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Secondary Milia This type of milia is caused by some sort of trauma or products like an eye cream that are super rich, sun damage or even the use of a strong corticosteroids cream. It can also be caused by sleeping in your makeup. (Yet another reason to wash your damn face at night!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ How to treat I will first say for milia on the eyelid or super close to your eye I would seek professional help and don’t attempt to treat yourself at home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Don’t pick them or try to extract them at home! They can’t just be squeezed out and fingernails or blackhead extractors will just bruise and damage your surrounding skin. If you want them gone ASAP you will need to see a dermatologist, nurse or esthetician since a sanitary puncture to the skin is required to remove. (I will note this varies state to state as some states don’t allow estheticians to use lancets.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Just leave it. Sometimes they go away on their own. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Use a retinoid • Get a pro peel or use an OTC peel. It will dissolve the top layer of skin and the milia will (eventually) just pop out on its own. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ How to prevent • Evaluate your products. Are you using a super rich eye cream or concealer? It may be too much for that delicate skin and you may want to retire it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • Use an AHA product regularly like a toner or serum to help keep dead skin cells from accumulating. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #babeandbeauty #esthetician #estheticianblogger #skinschool #milia #miliaremoval #skin #skincare #skincareroutine #whiteheads #skinexpert

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Milia like to really develop a long-standing bond with their ‘host’, so while they can eventually disappear on their own, you might be waiting a while. You can speed up this process by using chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids as well as retinoids. Alternatively, you can contact a dermatologist to get it professionally extracted, which is done with a scalpel (and, if you’re lucky, some numbing cream beforehand). See, there IS hope!

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⬅️⬅️Swipe Left ⬅️⬅️ Before and after one session of Milia extractions to the cheekbones and under-eyes! Milia are formed due to dead skin being trapped in the pores of the skin, typically found on the cheeks, eye area and forehead. It is thought that the development of milia as an adult is an indication of using rich/heavy moisturizers and not exfoliating enough. Milia extraction is a quick and easy process that should only be performed by a professional as they must be extracted professionally to avoid scaring. #milia #extractions #clearskin #skincaretips #natashamirra #natashamirradermaltherapy #skinclinic #werribee #melb #skinksofinstagram

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As the old adage goes, prevention is better than a cure, and there are beauty buys worth investing in to keep milia at bay.

Here are some of our fave products to gently exfoliate your skin to prevent build-up and spots. You’re welcome!

1. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

This best-selling treatment solution helps to exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better, more visible skin clarity

R299 Korean Beauty SHOP NOW

2. REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic

This effective, skin-resurfacing toner is rich in lactic acid and will exfoliate and brighten your complexion, whilst being gentle enough to use daily

R565 Ren Skincare SHOP NOW

3. L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Peel Pads

These daily peel pads contain glycolic acid which resurfaces dull, uneven tone and rough texture to reveal fresh looking skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time

R373 Foschini for Beauty SHOP NOW

4. Lamelle RA 3.0

This booster is a high-performance yet well-tolerated 3% retinoic acid ester serum purposed for age prevention, but it can help to prevent build-up on the skin as well

R780 Dermastore SHOP NOW

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