What are Milia?
Milia are the plural for the word milium and have been referred to as an oil seed or milk spot. It is a keratin-filled cyst that will usually appear on the roof of your mouth or on the outer skin, also known as the epidermis or around damaged or undeveloped sweat glands. Milia can happen to people of all ages but is most predominately associated with a newborn baby. When they appear on your skin it is normally around your eyes and nose. They can also sometimes be found on your genitalia. Milia have also been confused with whiteheads. Milia are benign skin findings and are approximately one to two mm in size. They are usually more noticeable on infants because they appear on their faces. The Milia that is found in an infant’s mouth are referred to as Epstein Pearls. It is normal to find these in an infant.
Milia can be categorized in two different ways which are:
This is when Milia forms directly from entrapped keratin. This type is usually found on the faces of both adults and infants.
They look similar to primary Milia and are also cysts but this type develops after something has blocked the ducts that lead to the surface of the skin.
The symptoms vary for each type of Milia but in general they are not itchy or painful. They are bumps that are dome-shaped and can be white-to-yellow in color.
- Primary Milia – they will appear around your cheeks, forehead, nose, and eyes.
- Secondary Milia – they will appear anywhere on your body where there is another skin condition is. They particularly appear on the back of your hands. If you have a lot of exposure to the sun they can also appear on your face.
These can also be secondary to some type of trauma or just arise spontaneously.
Infants and children
Approximately eighty-five percent of newborns will have them on the palate inside their mouth and on their gums. They will also have them around their eyes, nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead.
One of the main causes for Milia in adults is the use of severe skin care products. Sun exposure is another cause in which the epidermis becomes too thick and makes it hard to get the dead skin out of your glands. Your skin may also be hard to exfoliate, which means to get rid of the excess dry skin on your body. Basically the cause of Milia in adults is the dead skin that gets trapped in small pockets on the surface of your skin. Other causes can include:
- Oily makeup remover
- Thick or oily lotions
- Sticky or thick makeup
- Sweat glands that have been damaged due to trauma to the skin like being burned.
A big contributor to Milia around your eyes is wearing eye makeup. If makeup is not completely removed at night it traps the dead skin cells and keeps them stuck to your skin.
Infants and Children
In infants the oil glands are still in the developing stage so the dead skin does not come off as it normally would but instead gets trapped on the skin. In addition their sweat glands may be blocked and cause Milia.
For anyone that has Milia make sure that you are drinking plenty of fresh fruit juices and water to help make your skin clearer and to flush out any toxins from your body.
If an adult has them they may need to be removed professionally by a dermatologist or physician. When a dermatologist or physician removes Milia they will poke a tiny hole in the tip of the Milia and then extract the fluid in there. Other treatments can include:
- Having a series of glycolic acid peels done to help release the dead cells on your skin and clean the pores of your skin.
- Microdermabrasion – this is where the top layer of your skin is rubbed off in order to expose the new healthier skin that is underneath.
- Your physician or dermatologist may use topical retinoid cream on the areas.
Some at-home treatments that a person can try include:
- If the Milia is on your face you can use a medicated soap to clean the area. Make sure that you use the soap on your hands first to get rid of any germs there.
- Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis to make sure that you get rid of the dead skin cells that are stuck to the area.
- Apply sunscreen that contains zinc oxide to help prevent Milia from forming or getting worse.
Milia will usually last for several weeks but it can be months before they completely disappear. Once the Milia are gone a person should begin to use an oil-free cream or lotion to help prevent it from returning.
Infants and Children
Usually no treatment is needed because it will usually disappear within a couple of weeks and have no long lasting effects. If Milia appears on the face or an infant or child, there are some things that you can do will they are recovering such as:
- Gently wash their face with baby soap and warm water two to three times each day.
- Make sure that you pat, not rub, their face dry.
- Do not use any type of medicated creams on the areas
- Make sure that you do not irritate or prick the little bumps.
Photos, Images and Pictures of Milia…