How to Get Rid of Milia Without Scarring Your Skin | Water’s Edge Dermatology

Closeup of milia on a woman’s face medically reviewed By : Ted Schiff, MD
If you ’ ve noticed bantam white or yellow bumps on your face, you may have assumed they were whiteheads. But if the bumps are much firmer than whiteheads and aren ’ triiodothyronine inflamed, chances are you have milia. Since you can ’ thymine pop them like a pimple, the wonder is how to get rid of milia .
“ Milia and acne are two different issues, ” said Ted Schiff, MD, founder, and head medical military officer of Water ’ sulfur Edge Dermatology. “ Milia develop in identical little haircloth follicles or in the sweat ducts in your hide, not in the pores. ” Milia on the eyelid and other parts of the face such as the impudence and nose are peculiarly common, though these pearl-like cysts can appear anywhere .

What causes milia?

primary milia sometimes referred to as “ milk spots, ” form when a protein in skin cells called keratin becomes trapped under the top layer of clamber.

“ The skin is constantly exfoliating itself, shedding erstwhile skin cells and replacing them with new ones, ” said Dr. Schiff. “ But if some of the old clamber cells don ’ t fall off, they can get trapped under newly skin and inure. ”
primary whitehead is the most common type of whitehead in adults. It ’ second besides common in newborns. Newborn milia typically appear on the face, scalp, and upper berth torso and heal on its own within a few weeks .
Another type of whitehead, called secondary milia, can happen when the skin heals after it ’ south injure or damaged by a vesiculation rash ( such as a poison ivy rash ), a burn, long-run use of steroid hormone cream, or years of sun wrong. Using products that are excessively heavy for your skin type can besides cause secondary coil milia, which may be harder to treat than elementary milia .

Get rid of milia: Treatments options

Milia frequently go away on their own within a few months, but sometimes they can persist for years. They are harmless, but if they bother you, seek professional help. Your dermatologist knows how to get rid of milia .
“ People sometimes try to remove whitehead themselves by popping them as they would pimples, ” said Dr. Schiff. “ But milia have a identical hard texture, and you can ’ thymine get rid of them without making an incision in the skin. ” Trying to pop a whitehead ( one vesicle ) can lead to scarring .
Another benefit of seeing a dermatologist : He or she can confirm that the cysts are milia and not something else, such as basal cell carcinoma, which can appear as white, chopper bumps .
Keep in mind that evening most professional whitehead removal treatments carry some risk of scar, so it ’ second authoritative to weigh the risks and benefits with your dermatologist before proceeding. here are the techniques a dermatologist may use .


The simplest way to remove whitehead is through de-roofing. The dermatologist cuts a bantam opening in the top of the cyst with a lancet and pushes out the keratin plug using a tool called a comedone centrifuge. You ’ ll feel a balmy prick, nothing more. De-roofing is one of the safe whitehead removal options for people with darkness hide, who are particularly vulnerable to developing darkness patches known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after certain clamber treatments.

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In most cases, de-roofing can be used to remove whitehead on the eyelid. “ occasionally, if they are large or numerous or close to the eyelid margin, we refer the patient to an ophthalmologist, ” said Dr. Schiff .

Laser ablation

This is a whitehead removal choice a dermatologist might choose if you have multiple milia. Laser energy is used to break down the at bay keratin and encourage it to be reabsorbed in the peel. Laser treatments may not be recommended for people with dark skin .

Chemical peel

A meek chemical peel off can treat milia by removing the top level of skin, revealing new, smooth skin. The bark care provider applies a solution containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid to exfoliate the involve clamber. Pain stand-in normally isn ’ triiodothyronine necessity for meek peels, which cause merely a flimsy sting sensation .


In this less-common procedure, liquid nitrogen is applied to the whitehead. It freezes and destroys the cysts. You may experience swelling or blistering that disappears in a few days. This treatment may not be recommended if the whitehead are near the eyes, since the skin in the eye area is thin and delicate .

Tretinoin or oral antibiotics

Cases of a rare character of whitehead called whitehead en brass, which appears as multiple whitehead on top of a raised crimson piece of peel, may go away with a prescription retinoid called tretinoin or an antibiotic called minocycline. Milia en brass often occurs in people with an autoimmune circumstance or familial skin condition such as discoid lupus or lichen planus .

Milia treatment at home 

There are a few things you can do at home to encourage whitehead to go away and to avoid developing more of them .
Try using an exfoliating cleansing agent that contains salicylic acid, citric acid or glycolic acidic once a week or more .
At-home chemical peels that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acidic can besides be helpful, but ask your dermatologist for advice on the best product to use. If you use one that ’ s besides harsh for your bark, you could develop annoyance or secondary milia.

Applying a prescription retinoid or nonprescription vitamin a1 product once a day can help treat and prevent whitehead by speeding up cell dollar volume .
last, don ’ thymine forget to use sunscreen to protect your clamber from burns and other sun damage that can lead to secondary coil whitehead .
Article Written By :  Jessica Brown, a health and science writer/editor based in Nanuet, New York. She has written for Prevention magazine,,, and many other outlets.

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