What is Milia?

What is Milia?

Milia are small, white or yellowish bumps that can appear on the skin, typically around the face, particularly around the eye area. They are tiny cysts filled with keratin, a protein found in the outer layer of the skin. Milia are often referred to as "milk spots" or "oil seeds."

The exact cause of milia is not always clear, but there are several factors that can contribute to their development:

  • Skin Cell Buildup: Milia can occur when dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin, leading to the formation of small cysts.
  • Oil Gland Blockage: If the oil glands near the surface of the skin become blocked or clogged, it can result in the formation of milia.
  • Skin Trauma: In some cases, milia can develop as a result of skin trauma or damage, such as burns, blisters, or prolonged sun exposure.

Milia are typically harmless and painless, and they are not contagious. They are most commonly seen in newborns and infants, often referred to as "neonatal milia," and tend to resolve on their own within a few weeks or months.

In adults, milia can occur as a result of various factors, including sun damage, aging, use of heavy skincare products, or certain skin conditions such as bullous pemphigoid or porphyria cutanea tarda.

Treatment for milia may not always be necessary, as they often disappear on their own over time. However, if milia persist or are of cosmetic concern, treatment options may include:

  • Extraction: A dermatologist or skincare professional can perform a simple extraction procedure using a sterile needle or scalpel to remove the milia.
  • Topical Retinoids: Prescription retinoid creams or gels containing vitamin A derivatives may help accelerate the skin cell turnover and promote the gradual disappearance of milia.
  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which helps exfoliate the top layers and encourage the removal of milia.

It is important to note that attempting to squeeze or extract milia at home can potentially lead to skin irritation, scarring, or infection. If you have concerns about milia or are considering treatment options, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist or skincare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance.

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