Milia are little white keratin cysts that form under the skin, usually around the eyes. These protein deposits do not have pores and come in two forms, primary and secondary. Primary milia can occur from improperly/not fully developed oil glands, while secondary milia results from trauma to the skin. Genetics can play a part in the development of milia as does overexposure to the sun. Gentle exfoliation is recommended to prevent milia from forming. Home removal of milia can be done as long as they are not a symptom of underlying illness or disease. As long as health is optimal, home removal is safe, if somewhat painful.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sterile needle
- Facial cleanser
- Clean tissue
Thoroughly cleanse your hands and face with a vegetable-based soap. Soak a washcloth in warm water, and apply it to the face for two to three minutes.
Use a sterile needle to gently apply pressure to the centre of the white bumps. This creates tiny openings in the skin.
Wrap your thumbs in a sterile tissue. Use your thumbs to gently squeeze protein deposits out of the white bumps.
Thoroughly clean the area with a natural astringent, such as witch hazel.
Tips and warnings
- Milia can form around the mouth as a reaction to fluoride in toothpaste. When brushing teeth try not to let the pasty foam sit at the corners of the mouth too long. Avoid sun exposure and bad sunburns to limit milia; also stay away from sunscreens with extra ingredients like fragrances, which can contribute to skin irritation. Gentle exfoliation helps prevent milia and makes milia removal easier by thinning the layer of skin around milia.
- Refrain from using heavy eye creams, which can contribute to milia. Use cleansers and moisturisers with alpha or beta hydroxy acids to prevent these white bumps.
- Home removal of milia can be painful. Cysts might not be entirely removed; if this is the case make an appointment with a dermatologist to remove milia. Dermatologists use either a needle or an electric current to remove milia.
- Excess harsh scrubbing of skin can cause milia to form, so stick to gentle exfoliation two or three times a week.
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