Milia, commonly known as white bumps or milk spots are not particularly painful, nonetheless, they do result in psychological pain to some extent. People often confuse these tiny bumps with whiteheads. However, they are not whiteheads. Unlike acne, the disease may develop without a reason and it becomes almost impossible to extract them like normal blemishes. The cysts breakout when keratin (a type of protein found in hair, nail, and skin cells) gets trapped under the surface of your skin.
Who is Affected?
Milia is one of those disorders which can affect people of almost every age group from babies to adults, irrespective of their skin type. Obviously, some folks never develop them whilst some have to deal with them throughout their life. However, since it is not a disease & is not caused by a virus, fungus, or a bacteria, the human body fails to gain immunity to it.
What Causes Milia?
1. Heavy Application of Cosmetics
Cosmetics play a major role in the development of Milia in adults especially women. Comedogenic cosmetics are likely to impact skin’s ability to remove dead skin cells. Popular products in this group include hair spray, hair gel, comedogenic makeup remover, thick sunscreen, moisturizer. Individuals suffering from milia on lips or milia on eyelid issues must carefully evaluate the ingredient list of the cosmetics they apply to these regions.
2. Extended Exposure to UV Radiation
The ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun is very likely to damage your skin surface. As a person ages, the skin’s ability to eliminate the dead skin cells weakens which turns the outer layer of the skin thick. This makes the exfoliation procedure further difficult.
3. PCT (Porphyria Cutanea Tarda)
At times, the condition may be associated with skin issues like PCT (Porphyria Cutanea Tarda), a blistering condition. Here, it is important to note that this is an extremely rare condition and there is no need for you to worry that you have PCT simply because you have Milia. On contrary, even if you have PCT, symptoms will often direct you to the condition. Symptoms include hair on knuckles, back of hands, and face in addition to blisters.
A family history of similar disorders can as well result in baby Milia or Milia in adults.
Eyes (under eyes or on an eyelid)
Milia in Babies or Newborns
In a newborn, the cause of the disorder is still unknown. People often think of them as baby acne, resulted due to hormones from the mother. However, as opposed to baby acne, milia might not cause swelling. According to a study conducted by Stanford School of Medicine, infants with milia are born with the disorder, whereas baby acne won’t appear for a couple of weeks post birth.
Types of Milia
1. Primary Milia in Adults and Kids
The condition might stem from keratin trapped under the surface of the skin. Cysts might develop on the genitalia, forehead, or around the eyelid. The condition may heal inside a couple of weeks or last for quite some time.
2. Neonatal Milia
Neonatal Milia is a disorder that develops as a small cyst beneath the surface of the skin, typically on a baby’s face. Usually, they are multiple in numbers which is the reason why they are known as Neonatal Milia.
It affects over 50% of the babies and newborns and may take a few weeks to heal. Neonatal Millium (milia) is seen as a normal skin issue and there are no major symptoms related to it.
Cysts can be mainly seen on the scalp, face, upper torso and face of a baby.
The disorder is self-limiting and does not need any special treatment.
3. Juvenile Milia
Juvenile milia might be there from the birth or develop at later stages of life. It usually develops from genetic issues like pachyonychia congenital, nevoid basal cell carcinoma disorder, Gardner disorder or Bazex Dupré Christol disorder.
4. MEP or Milia en plaque
Milia en plaque typically develops as plaques in middle-aged women although it might also develop in adults and kids of all ages and gender.
Milia en Plaque can be normally seen in people with certain medical conditions for instance:
Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE)
Side Note: It is crucial to understand that having any of the risk elements doesn’t necessarily mean a person will develop the condition. A risk element might increase a person’s likelihood of developing a condition as opposed to a person without the risk elements. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the effects of the above risk factors.
Milia en Plaque won’t need any immediate treatment normally since it might disappear on its own within a few days.
5. Traumatic Milia
Traumatic Milia develops on a part of injury as a person’s skin goes through the healing process. Examples of Traumatic Milia include dermabrasion, thermal burns, blistering rashes like bullous pemphigoid. They usually develop on the back of fingers and hands in porphyria cutanea tarda. The cysts might cause irritation and turn white in the center & red through the edges.
6. Multiple Eruptive Milia
They are often characterized by asymptomatic or itchy lesions and may develop on arms, torso, face, and upper arm. Might last over a couple of weeks to months.
7. Millium as a result of Drugs
The condition is quite rare and may result due to the use of steroid creams such as hydroquinone, phenols, corticosteroid, and 5-fluorouracil.
Ways to Prevent Milia:
1. According to experts, thick, heavy makeups and creams need to be avoided in order to prevent Milia. Furthermore, make sure to keep your face clean. Exfoliating your skin few times a week can also help.
2. Incorporate a good sunscreen in your day-to-day schedule in order to protect yourself from sun damage.
3. Avoid picking them to prevent the development of scar.
4. Lastly, one milium does not indicate you have to undertake medical treatment procedures. However, in case you develop numerous or long-lasting milk spots, it might be the right time to see your healthcare provider.
In case of baby milia, treatment might not be necessary since the milk spots will clear up inside a couple of weeks. Milia in adults or kids might last up to a few months and might require some treatments in order to reduce the discomfort. Most of the time, they will clear up on their own.
However, in case you are looking for Milia removal simply because they are unsightly or bothersome, you can opt for Milia home remedies or Milia products that can help you eliminate these spots safely and in a short period of time.
Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Milia
The antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in honey can help retain moisture & prevent dryness. Mix a tbsp. of Jojoba oil with 2 tbsp. of honey, apply it on your face and keep it for 10-15 min. Repeat the procedure 3-4 each week for best results.
Steam can help unclog skin pores and eliminate the dead cells from your skin. The process is quite straight-forward. Damp a towel into the hot water. Next, squeeze out extra water. Then, put the towel on the face for a couple of minutes & remove it. Repeat the method a few times per week.
3. Baking Soda
Add a small amount of baking soda to water to produce a thick paste. Apply the paste on your face & allow it to dry. Once dry, wash your face thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Fluoride, a primary ingredient in toothpaste can help get rid of milia in a short time period. Apply a thin layer of toothpaste directly on the affected region. Let it stay for around 20 minutes. You might feel a burning sensation, however, it’s quite natural and should soon be over. Once done, clean your face with cold-water.
5. Rice Scrub
Rice bran is a rich source of antioxidants that help retain enough moisture within your skin. Soak a small amount of rice in milk for around 4 – 5 hours. Grind it inside a blender to create a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area and scrub softly. You should start seeing positive results within a few weeks.
6. Cinnamon Mask
Cinnamon due to its anti-inflammatory properties helps greatly in Milia removal. Mix one tablespoon each of lemon juice and baking soda and half tablespoon of cinnamon powder in a bowl. Add some water to create a paste. Apply the paste on the affected parts. Let it stay until it dries. Finally, wash off the area with water. For best results, apply it at least twice a week.
7. Milk Pack
Milk contains two powerful elements, retinol & retinol ester, both quite useful for preserving healthy skin cells. Mix 2 tablespoon of whole milk with 1 tbsp each of lemon juice and salt. Mix it well. Next, rub the mixture on the face in a circular manner. After 10-15 minutes, wash your face with water.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E that helps preserve healthy skin cells. They, not only effectively cure whiteheads, but eliminate milk spots too. Crush a few almonds and add them to a teaspoon of oatmeal. Then, add little rosewater in order to create a paste. Apply it on milia prone region. Wash after 10-15 minutes with water.
Yogurt is another powerful source of nutrients for the skin. It helps retain enough moisture within your skin. Combine 3 tbsp of yogurt and 2 tbsp of oatmeal with 1 tbsp, each of olive oil & lemon juice. Stir it well and apply it on the affected area. Rinse it off with normal water after 5 minutes.
10. Green Gram Flour
Green gram flour scrub can remove impurities and dead skin present on the skin. Jojoba oil is known for its anti-inflammatory elements. The combination of these two can effectively get rid of milia on the face. Add equal portions of jojoba oil and green gram flour. Apply the paste on affected parts. Let it stay for few minutes. Wash off with cold water & pat dry. Repeat daily for effective milia treatment.