Published: 03/12/2016 - Updated: 07/13/2016
There are many types of impurities and skin problems that affect the appearance of the skin, from blemishes, breakouts, pimples and blackheads, among others. There are also tiny bumps that occur in certain areas of the skin and especially around the eyes and eyelids, but also on the cheeks and nose.
Milia are white cysts which form under the skin due to an accumulation of keratin, a common protein in tissues, skin, hair and nails. They can affect people at any age, but it is most common to see them in newborn babies.
Why do they appear?
It is not known why milia appear in newborn babies, but in teenagers and adults their appearance is associated with the following factors:
- Burns or certain other skin traumas.
- Long exposure to sunlight
- The use of steroid creams for prolonged periods of time
- The use of oil-based creams that can clog the pores of the skin
- Certain skin conditions
In addition, people who tend to smoke are often more likely to develop skin milia.
Prevention is the best alternative when it comes to milia, as it is possible to avoid their appearance with a good skin cleansing routine and habits that will improve the health of our skin.
Washing the our face daily and using a suitable moisturiser for oily skin is advisable.
In addition, we must avoid excessive use of makeup or cosmetics that can clog pores and follicles in our skin.
How can I remove milia?
There are different treatments to remove milia depending on the amount of milia you have, their cause and also their location. An evaluation by your dermatologist to conclude the most appropriate treatment is also recommended.
Multiple milia treatments may require chemical peels or other treatments such as laser surgery.
There are also other options to remove milia, with the most common being drainage using a scalpel or needle.
We can try to eliminate milia with home-made methods, however, when it comes to multiple milia it is always advisable to consult an expert who can guide us.
If milia are situated in a not-so-delicate area of your skin, you can use exfoliants each day.
Mix a little sugar with honey into a paste, apply it to the affected skin and draw circles smoothly and gently, never aggressively on the affected area. Remove with warm water and apply a moisturiser suitable for oily skin. Repeat this daily for 3 or 4 days, but this regime should be discontinued if you notice any irritations or increased sensitivity of your skin.
This method is not recommended when the milia are very close to the eye.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has many uses for the health of our skin: It is often used to combat warts and fungal infections, however, it can also be used to treat milia.
It is recommended to dilute a drop of oil tea tree in a couple of drops of olive oil, take a cotton swab and apply on and around the area of the milia and let dry. Repeat twice a day until the milia has disappeared.
Please note that tea tree oil can be irritating to the skin when it is very concentrated, so care must be taken when handling it.
If one or a couple of milia present themselves, you may be able to employ the use of a home extraction, however, it is important to know that proper hygiene must be practiced to effectively carry out this procedure.
Put a new (unused) needle to boil for about 5 minutes. Once the water cools down, the area of our skin where the milia are must be sanitised using an alcohol swab on a clean face, then later our fingers should be cleaned with alcohol as well.
Take the needle and clean the tip with alcohol, later puncture the milium on one side: The goal is to tear the skin which has grown over the milium. Once done that, press the milium with one finger on one side and you will see puss or cyst fluid coming out. Later, clean well with alcohol and leave to dry.
The milia may be small cysts but they are considered benign and do not have the ability to become malignant, so they do not pose any real risk to our health beyond the aesthetic aspect.
In the case of newborns with these small cysts, it is important to know that they usually disappear a few days later.
Most milia disappear on their own over time and therefore you should never try to squeeze or pop them, because there is more chance of damaging the surrounding healthy skin.
These small cysts of keratin can re-form if a suitable procedure or cure is not performed, which can only be done by an expert. This is a fact that we must consider whether we have problems with recurrent miliums.