Milia: What You Need to Know About the Small White Bumps on Your Face
There’s a chance you have milia—without even realizing it. Due to their small size and white color, the tiny bumps are often mistaken for whiteheads, even though they aren’t the same thing. Despite their apparent similarities—at least in the looks department—milia aren’t a form of acne. If your handy spot treatment isn’t helping to reduce the appearance of the white bumps on your face, you may need to reevaluate what exactly you’re dealing with. Keep clicking to find out what milia are, what causes milia, how to help prevent milia and more!
What Are Milia?
We’ve already covered that milia aren’t whiteheads, or any form of acne for that matter, but what exactly are they? According to medical esthetician, SkinCeuticals ambassador, and Skincare.com consultant Jenn Oakley, milia are a buildup of keratin underneath the skin that have the appearance of tiny, white bumps. Most often, they’re seen under the eyes and around the nose or cheeks, but they can appear anywhere.
What Causes Milia?
Milia may pop up seemingly with no rhyme or reason, but there is in fact a clear cause behind the white bumps. Mayo Clinic shares that milia develop when tiny skin flakes become trapped in small pockets near the surface of the skin. Additionally, milia may be worse for those with certain skin conditions. Oakley shares that if you have sun damaged skin, an overly oily complexion, or slack on exfoliating, you may be more likely to develop milia.
Can You Get Rid of Milia?
Good news, according to Mayo Clinic, milia typically disappear all on their own within a matter of weeks or months. To help speed up the process, the Cleveland Clinic recommends using an over-the-counter exfoliator formulated with salicylic acid. As for milia that are more persistent, Oakley shares that visiting a dermatologist is likely the best solution. A licensed skin care provider can extract stubborn milia with a lancet.
How Can You Prevent Milia?
While milia are usually easy to address, it can take time, which means it can be worthwhile to take steps to help ensure they don’t crop up in the first place. Oakley reveals that exfoliation is key to help prevent milia, since they are a build-up of excess skin. She suggests the Skinceuticals Retexturizing Activator in particular, sharing, “It’s always my go to product for exfoliation.”
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