This article looks at different types of milia, their causes, and possible ways to get rid of them.
Milia are small, yellow or white bump-like cysts found under the skin, usually on the face and often found in newborns but they can affect people of any age. They are usually 1 to 2 mm in size.
They form when skin flakes or keratin, a protein, become trapped under the skin.
Milia most often appear on the face, commonly around the eyelids and cheeks, though they can occur anywhere.
In most cases, milia will disappear on their own within a few months.
A number of home remedies may help get rid of milia. While no specific remedy has been proven to remove milia quickly, these treatments are mostly low-risk.
If milia are causing concern, certain clinical treatments have been used to try and remove them. These include:
All of these treatments carry a risk of scarring, except for minocycline, which has other risks. Since milia themselves do not cause scarring, think carefully before undergoing these treatments.
It is not always possible to prevent milia, for example, when they occur in newborns.
However, when milia are associated with other skin conditions or injuries, swift treatment may keep them from appearing.
Tips for preventing milia include:
Milia can sometimes arise following a chemical peel. It may be possible to prevent their occurrence by applying a topical retinoid before the procedure. However, retinoids can cause dark spots or excessive irritation when used in combination with chemical peels.
Milia affect up to 50 percent of all newborns. They usually disappear on their own within a few weeks.
Neonatal milia are often found on the nose, but may appear on the scalp, face, upper trunk, and inside the mouth.
These bumps can be confused with neonatal acne. The white bumps of neonatal acne vary in size, and are often surrounded by redness, while milia are generally uniform in size, with no redness.
Milia may be present from birth, while neonatal acne usually does not appear until 2 weeks after birth.
Primary milia occur in children and adults. While they may disappear without treatment in a few weeks, they can also last for several months.
Primary milia often appear on the following body parts:
They may also appear along the nasal crease in young children.
In this condition, multiple milia are clumped together in a broad, flat patch raised above the surrounding skin. This patch or plaque often has a clear and defined border.
Milia en plaque can affect children and adults, particularly middle-aged women. It is usually found on the eyelids, behind the ears, and on the cheek or jaw.
This condition is rare and occasionally associated with other skin issues, including:
This rare type of milia involves numerous bumps appearing in the same area over several weeks or months. This is often the only symptom, though the area may also feel itchy.
Multiple eruptive milia tend to appear on the face, upper arms, and upper trunk.
Also known as secondary milia, this condition follows injury to the skin, which may involve:
Certain topical medications, including some steroid creams, may cause milia to appear.
Milia carry very few risks.
When milia are associated with another condition or injury, that condition should be treated separately.
It is important that milia are correctly diagnosed. They can be confused with other types of skin conditions, including comedones, miliaria, and other types of cysts.
When milia are a concern, discuss treatment with a specialist.
Milia tend not to cause long-term problems. The outlook is very good, and most cases will resolve without treatment in several weeks.
The bumps may disappear faster in newborns than in children and adults.
If milia do not disappear within a few weeks, Bard’au & Co will be able to recommend treatment options