How to Get Rid of Milia (Those Little White Bumps Under Your Skin)
If you’ve landed here, then it’s very likely that you’ve already asked everyone you know what the small white bumps underneath your skin could be, done your internet research — and ultimately decided you desire the glowy, glass-skin look Instagram dreams are made of (#same) and want visible bumps gone for good. If you’ve ever tried to pop these types of bumps, formally called milia, then you know it’s nearly impossible and leaves behind angry red marks long after you’ve given up. To get the scoop on how to get rid of milia we tapped Miami-based dermatologist, Skincare.com consultant and Specific Beauty founder Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd.
What Is Milia?
Although you might think milia is a type of acne, according to Dr. Woolery-Lloyd, they’re actually a build up of “tiny white bumps under the skin that contain keratin, the protein in our skin, hair and nails.” You can get milia regardless of age; it can be found in anyone from infants to adults, and it usually appears around the eyes and nose.
How Dermatologists Get Rid of Milia
Luckily, milia is easily removed by a dermatologist. “Unlike a pimple, milia do not have a natural opening to express the contents through, so a sterile needle is used to form a small opening and then contents are expressed,” says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. “With this treatment, they typically heal without any scarring.”
Can You Get Rid of Milia at Home?
While there’s no DIY method for getting rid of milia, Dr. Woolery-Lloyd suggests adding products with salicylic or glycolic acid into your skin-care routine. These acids may not treat existing bumps, but they may help reduce your chances of new milia appearing. Topical retinoids can also be helpful for preventing milia, says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd, “because they can increase cell-turnover rate in the skin, leading to improved exfoliation of dead skin cells on skin’s surface.” One thing you should never do, however, is pick at them yourself. Because, as previously mentioned, milia don’t have a natural opening, and if you try emptying them at home it could lead to irritation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.