Milia Removal : How Can You Diagnose And Treat Milia?

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Milia are small-sized white bumps that are found on the chin, nose, or cheeks of the baby. It very common in infants but can happen at any age. It is not possible to prevent this condition. Also, as this condition disappears on its own in a few weeks, you do not need any treatment. These bumps vanish quickly in newborns as compared to adults and children. In this article, we will look at different kinds of milia, reasons for their occurrence, as well as ways to prevent them and Milia Removal.

What is Milia?

Milia, is also referred to as “milk cysts”. They are small-sized, white or yellow colored cysts that are developed in the form of clusters. These milky capsules are seen mostly on the face, but can also be formed in the region that surrounds the cheeks, chin, gums, roof of the mouth, nose, forehead and eyelids. Normally, they are one to two millimeters in size, but can go grow even larger.

These tiny and non-swollen cysts grow on the skin as bumps and resembles as “whiteheads” on the skin. Their size increases when keratin cells, or white skin flakes get stuck under the surface of the skin. Milia is mostly seen in newborns, but they can impact people of different age groups, and gender. Milia removal is possible and we will see that in this article.

What are the Symptoms of Milia?

Milia are hard cysts that bears white or yellowish color. They are elevated cysts that builds below the outermost skin layer. These hard forms of boils, or abscess may be very annoying, but it takes time to disappear completely. Milia are not itchy, and do not cause any pain. They are completely harmless.

The extreme case of milia is seen when it is formed on the neck, upper trunk, limbs, and head over the time span of a few weeks or even months. Eruptive form of milia outbreak is seen to be a rare occurrence. It is linked to inflammation in the body.

What are the different types of Milia?

There is no one specific type of Milia. It can occur in different types in a person. Understanding these types is the first step to diagnose them.

1. Neonatal milia

Milia has the ability to impact around fifty percentage of newborns. This condition automatically disappears without any treatment. Some of the common areas where it occurs in the body are the scalp, upper trunk, face, and interior of the mouth. You will find these bumps to be of uniform size. They are present in people from the time of birth.

2. Primary milia

This is the second type of milia that majorly occurs in the area surrounding the cheeks, forehead, genitals, nasal crease and/or eyelids. It mostly happens in adults, and children. Sometimes they can disappear on its own without treatment, but can also last for many months.

3. Milia en plaque

This is the third and rare type of the Milia. In this condition, you will find clusters of milia together in a flat, or broad patch elevated over the surrounding skin. This plaque, or patch has a well-defined border.

It can impact adults, and children specifically middle-aged women. This type of milia is mostly present around the eyelids, rear portion of the ears, the jaw, or the cheek. Below are the conditions that are often linked to other types of skin issues. It includes:

  • pseudoxanthoma elasticum
  • lichen planus
  • discoid lupus erythematosus
  • several eruptive milia

In this type of Milia, you will observe several bumps growing in the same region for various weeks to months. This is just a symptom, but the area will feel severely itchy. The presence of numerous eruptive milia on the upper arms, upper trunk, and face can be very annoying and disturbing.

4. Traumatic milia

This type of Milia is called as secondary milia. It is the severe form of all types of Milia and causes injury to the skin. The condition may involve:

  1. a burning sensation
  2. blisters that erupt from an allergic reaction or the skin condition
  3. skin resurfacing processes that includes laser resurfacing, and dermabrasion
  4. heightened exposure to sunlight

What are the causes for occurrence of Milia?

There are several reasons for the growth of Milia. Understanding these causes will be helpful in the prevention of its occurrence to some extent and milia removal.

  1. The major reason behind the occurrence of Milia is when the skin does not shed dead cells from it efficiently. Though you will see them in lump form, they are not acne, or pimple. Unlike acne that happens inside the pore, Milia appears beneath the uppermost layer of the skin.
  2. Milia is not dependent on age. In other words, this condition can happen in people of any age. In fact, it has been seen that nearly fifty percentage of newborns build milia. There is no need to stress, as this condition resolves on its own within the initial few weeks. A majority of milia cases do not have any specific cause. People who have blackheads, or acne, are more susceptible to developing this condition in their body. In them, Milia occurs when their skin gets fully clear.
  3. Numerous eruptive milia is caused due to genetic mutations. If your parent suffers from this condition, then it is likely that you will also suffer form it. Eruptive milia is mostly accompanied with other rare genetic skin issues in children like Gardner syndrome.
  4. Over the counter steroid creams can also lead to development of Milia.
  5. Primary Milia is considered to occur spontaneously in a person. It can form either after the occurrence of a trauma, or an inflammatory skin ailment.
  6. This condition can also be activated due to an injury caused to the skin. This includes sunburns, blisters, burns, rashes etc. Topical corticosteroids and medicines used for the treatment of the chemotherapy are found to be beneficial in reducing the severity of this condition.
  7. Milia develops at the time when small sized skin flakes get stuck in region close to the skin surface.

How much time does it takes for Milia to disappear?

Milia appears, and subsides on its own. In majority of cases, it will take a few months to disappear. There is no particular medicine to give you quick relief from milia or milia removal. However, there are several home remedies that will help you get rid of this ailment. All these treatments involve low-risk.

Though it is hard to estimate an exact timing of when will this condition will disappear, but it takes longer than healing a pimple, or an acne. Where an acne takes around a few weeks to heal, Milia can last for some months.

What are the Risk factors involved in the development of Milia?

Milia is completely harmless. It does not cause any risk to a person. Only the extreme cases like traumatic Milia can cause you discomfort. With the proper diagnosis, you can arrive at better treatment to help you give relief from this trouble.

How to Diagnosis Milia?

Milia can be identified just on the basis of the appearance. There are several other issues that can lead to formation of tiny white-colored bumps on your skin. To perform the diagnosis of this condition, the dermatologist will take out the cyst and evaluate it under the microscope. Based on the type, and condition of it, he will implement methods to treat this disorder.

What are the available methods to treat Milia or Milia Removal?

If the appearance of milia annoys you, and you do not want to wait for some months for the condition to disappear, then you can seek medical treatment. You can consult with the doctor about medicines such as glycolic acid, or topical retinoids to increase the rate of healing.

In addition to topical application, you have a few more methods to treat the bump. This method is called bumps extraction. It is a very easy process and gives quick results. Milia extraction has to be performed only under the supervision of the doctor. It involves removing dead skin cells by application of topical exfoliant followed by creating a small sized micro-incision on the skin and taking out the bump with the help of tweezers.

Some of the other medical treatments include:

  • De-roofing, or removing milia using sterile blade, or needle.
  • Curettage, or removing the milia, and sealing the skin.
  • Cryotherapy, or freezing milia with liquid nitrogen. It can lead to blisters, or swelling that would go away in some days.
  • Consumption of oral antibiotic named “Minocycline”

Medical treatments should not be the first option. As these methods may cause complications like scarring, you should try to treat the condition using home remedies.

How can you treat Milia at home?

Milia removal is possible at home with home remedies. Use of organic ingredients is definitely the safest and effective way to treat milia. There are some tips that would help in reducing the possibilities of its occurrence and keep your skin in the best condition.

  1. Keep the skin clean. Wash it a few times a day with mild soap and warm water.
  2. Gently pat on the skin surface to make it dry.
  3. Do not scrub the bump. In place of lessening the condition, it will aggravate the issue.
  4. Do not apply any chemical-based oils, or lotions on the skin.
  5. Avoid using thick, and heavy eye creams, or moisturizing lotions. This is because it can increase the possibilities of development of pearly bumps.
  6. Change skincare products that contributes towards the development. Only use products that are non-“comedogenic” and “oil-free”. These products are not advisable as they would not clog the pores and activate overgrowth of keratin.
  7. You can take steam as it opens the pores and cleans the dirt that lies within the skin.
  8. Regularly exfoliate the region. Avoid over-exfoliation as it can lead to skin irritation.
  9. Use good quality and high-protection sunscreens that are enriched with SPF 50.
  10. Use topical retinoids gels, and creams are made from vitamin A that is beneficial in healing acne and other types of issues in the skin.
  11. Cinnamon, honey and rose, possess remarkable antibacterial properties that is effective to deal with any type of skin issues.
  12. Do not prick the area as it can cause infection and aggravate the skin condition.
  13. Mild cases of Milia is easy to treat. However, if you suffer from other types of skin conditions and injuries, then you need immediate treatment to prevent it from appearing.
  14. Avoid exposing your skin to the sun.
  15. It is advised to exfoliate your skin between two and three times a week
  16. Avoid using chemical peel as it is seen to cause appearance of milia on the skin. Some people treat their bumps with a combination of retinoids, and chemical peel as it can cause excessive irritation and dark spots on the skin. In place of it, application of a topical retinoid is helpful to deal with this issue.

Things to consider when visiting a doctor

If you are planning to go for Milia removal by clinical method, then you need to do your homework. Make a list of all the concerns that you have in your mind. It will help at the time of discussing the issue with the doctor. To help you with it, we have compiled a list of few questions that you should ask your doctor.

  1. Will this condition last for a few weeks or for several months?
  2. Is there any effective and trusted treatment to cure this condition?
  3. Is it required that I should follow skin care limitations with my child who is affected by this condition?


Milia does not cause any long-term issue in a person. In majority of cases, this condition is resolved without need of any treatment. If you do not see any disappearance of bumps after a few weeks of their occurrence, then you definitely need to consult your doctor to recommend effective medical or surgical treatment options for Milia removal.

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