Have you ever noticed tiny white or yellow bumps on your skin that won’t pop? That’s because these bumps aren’t acne. They’re something called milia, or “milk cysts.” They can show up on the body but are most common on the face, especially near the nose, forehead, cheeks, and eyes.
Although milia are harmless, they can be frustrating to deal with. And since they last longer than pimples or acne, they can be more challenging to remove. Here’s everything you need to know about milia, including what causes it and how to prevent it from coming back.
What Causes Milia?
Milia are small, hard cysts – usually only a couple millimeters in diameter – that form on the skin. They look like whiteheads but instead form when keratin gets trapped under the skin. Keratin is the protein involved in the structure of the hair, nails and skin's outer layers.
Milia form when dead skin cells are not removed as frequently as they need to be. They can also form from rashes, injuries, and even sun damage. If you have ever spent time with a newborn baby, you may have noticed milia on their skin. This is because their skin is learning how to replace itself – so it is common in babies and usually present at birth.
How to Avoid Milia
Although milia is usually harmless, you may be wondering what to do to prevent it or decrease it. The first thing you can do is avoid using heavy skin creams, ointment, and makeup. These can clog pores and cause traffic jams of dead skin cells. You can also avoid excess sun exposure to avoid leathery skin. This makes it harder for dead skin cells to naturally fall off.
Clean your skin regularly to avoid the buildup of debris, dirt, sweat, pollution, and makeup. All of these things can build up and clog your pores, which lead to acne and other skin problems including milia. Cleansing your skin twice daily allows skin to turn over as needed and shed dead skin cells. Double cleansing is even more effective to remove grime.
Nightly correcting serum by Navinka
Another way to avoid milia is to use a gentle acid exfoliator like the Nightly Calibrator to even out skin texture and tone.
How to Treat Milia
Milia usually resolves on its own over time. However, persistent milia can be helped by visiting an esthetician or another skin professional who can provide the proper facial options for you.
There are several things you can do for your skin to prepare it for your facial. Prepping your skin beforehand will help the facialist be even more effective. Here are a few tips to follow before your appointment:
- Avoid using new skin care before your visit. You could have a reaction and need to reschedule your facial.
- If you are planning to work out that day, do it before your appointment. Sweating and showering after a workout may irritate fresh post-facial skin.
- Stay hydrated to ensure your skin is plump and supple.
- Soften your skin before the appointment with a gentle acid exfoliator.
Overall, milia is a condition that influences the appearance and texture of your skin that doesn’t typically need treatment. However, with a little tender loving care, you can avoid milia popping up and keep your skin smooth, clean, and radiant.