Those pesky little white bumps on your face that often pass off as whiteheads are in fact a skin abnormality termed as milia - hard, white, raised bumps of about 1 to 2 mm, which feel like a tiny ball under the skin. Before we learn how to treat the bane, let’s take a look at what this skin condition really is.
While whiteheads are caused due to blocked pores and usually heal spontaneously, milia are benign cysts. They do not disappear of their own accord and are most commonly found around the eyes and the apples of the cheeks.
Contrary to popular belief, milia aren’t always caused by blocked pores. While chronic sun-damage is one definite cause, for some people it’s simply genetic.
Pricking or squishing them is a strict no-no! Any rough treatment can lead to scarring or reappearance. Milia can spontaneously rupture, drain and resolve on their own but this may take a long time. More often than not, they stay there for years with the same size and shape, if not removed properly.
- - As a preventive measure, over-the-counter skin creams containing alphahydroxy acids or retinoids may be used. Retinol is very helpful for both fighting and preventing milia but should not be applied to the upper eye lid.
- - The only way to get rid of them completely is to get them manually extracted by a dermatologist. Wonder how they do it? A skin professional will have to pierce your skin with a lancet to create an opening, then gently squeeze the milia out. So whatever you do, never try this at home!
Regular acid exfoliators help prevent milia from reappearing. Look for salicylic acid when it comes to choosing skincare products because it gets deep into your pore lining and keeps skin clean. Alternate with gentle, low-foaming cleansing gels to deep clean without over-drying the skin.
Know the difference between whiteheads and milia and treat your skin right!