How to Address Milia (Those Little White Bumps Under Your Skin)January 06, 2022
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 or you’ve done your research on them. You’ve also probably tried to pop these bumps, called milia, and know that not only is it nearly impossible, but it also leaves behind angry red marks. So what’s the best way to address milia? To find out, we tapped Miami-based dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd.
What Is Milia?
Although you might think milia is a type of acne, they’re actually a build up of “tiny white bumps under the skin that contain keratin, a protein found in skin, hair and nails,” says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. You can get milia regardless of your age: It can be found in infants and adults alike, and it typically appears around the eyes and nose.
How to Address Milia
Milia is easily treatable by a professional. Don’t try to take matters into your own hands — it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. “Unlike pimples, milia don’t have a natural opening to expel their contents, so a sterile needle is used to form a small opening and then the contents are removed,” says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. “With this treatment, they can typically heal without any scarring.”
Can You Get Rid of Milia at Home?
While there’s no DIY method for remedying milia, Dr. Woolery-Lloyd suggests adding products with salicylic acid, like the CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser, or glycolic acid, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 5% Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner, into your skincare routine to help prevent these bumps from forming. These acids may not be able to treat existing bumps, but they can help reduce your chances of new milia appearing. Topical retinoids can also be helpful for preventing milia, says Dr. Woolery-Lloyd. “Retinoids 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. 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.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn