Hey guys, when I originally wrote this article in 2011 I didn’t realise how popular it would become! On average we have 500+ views a day, just on this post alone. Thanks to those who have shared their experiences. They say that a problem shared is a problem solved. So please do share any advice or any secrets to how you battled (and hopefully won) your fight with Milia.
The funniest thing is that in 2013 my daughter was born with Milia. I’d never personally experienced it only treated clients. I had to fight hard not to panic. It must have been baby brain or something because I forgot everything I knew. I actually had to come back to the site and re-read what I’d written myself just to calm myself down. People kept commenting on the “small spots on her face” which became really irritating very quickly. As a new parent you become very defensive over your baby and any criticism. So I found myself having to educate alot of strangers and all those aunts and uncles who wanted to offer words of advice on how to treat them. Some of the advice I heard was quite shocking. Especially considering we were talking about a new born baby! Luckily after using pure Olive Oil and nothing else on her skin the little spots disappeared by the time she was 2 months old. They usually say Milia disappers on newborns after a few days so when Tallulah’s didn’t show any signs of fading away it was hard not to become worried. The main thing I had to remind myself was not to clog her pores so I avoided using baby powder on her face and Idefinateley didn’t squeeze them as some suggested! Anyway.. Good luck on your journey to finding a solution that works for you. Read the article below and please do leave feedback either asking for advice or offering some insight on your own experiences. It’s truly appreciated!
Milia – Cause and Cure
For some people, Milia can be the bane of their lives. People often confuse them for spots and can fall prey to some beauty therapists (actually i’ll just call them people who do facials as I don’t want to tarnish the reputation of truly qualified therapists *wink* ) who damage the client’s skin by trying to “extract” these sometimes very painful bumps.
Fixing those little white bumps starts with a small dose of education and ends with a very big dose of prevention. After taking all the necessary precautions (which we will be talking about) your little bumps should give way to clearer skin.
Milia occurs when surface-level skin cells are not sloughed off and so the cells clog the skin, leading to these cysts. Milia seeds are white or yellowish bumps and are also sometimes called oil seeds, these are usually small and hard. Sometimes, if a milia seed is new, it can be soft, and appear as though it is a pimple without an opening. Thankfully, you can have milia removed by a dermatologist. You can also follow a skincare regime at home that will decrease the presence of milia.
Exfoliating the skin, or removing the dead skin cells from your skin with an abrasive product or chemical, is beneficial. But brutally scrubbing your face with soaps and chemicals too frequently may actually create milia! To avoid this, remember that gentle exfoliation helps prevent excess dead skin cell build-up that could clog your pores and cause whiteheads, not milia.
Milia can be categorized as either primary or secondary:
- Primary milia are formed directly from sloughed-off skin and are very small, fluid-filled cysts, usually found on the faces of infants and adults.
- Secondary milia are also tiny cysts and look similar, but these develop after something clogs the ducts leading to the skin surface, such as after an injury, burn, or blistering of the skin.
Just because you have little white bumps on your face does not necessarily mean that you have acne. Acne and Milia are very different skin conditions. Comedones or whiteheads (aka acne) are excess fats and wastes that are trapped in a hair follicle and so they clog up the pores.
So the difference between Milia and Acne, Spots, Zits or what ever you want to call them is quite simply that Milia are proteins trapped within the skin, while Comedones are fats and skin debris trapped within the pore. They may both appear to be little bumps under the skin but they’re both very different things.
This gentle exfoliation makes eventual removal of the milia easier because the skin layer around the milia becomes thinner, with frequent, yet gentle exfoliation. In short; Exfoliate your skin to prevent milia, not to cure them.
When you were a baby, you were probably covered with milia that disappeared after a few days. Or, you may have inherited milia from your parents.
On the other hand, you may develop milia after excessive exposure to the sun. The reasons for developing milia after sun exposure are debatable. According to some studies, the active ingredients such as sunscreens like Parsol 1789 may cause sun allergies and later lead to a milia breakout. Other studies blame the sun itself for “damaging” the skin and thus causing little white bumps.
Some people experience milia around the mouth and this could be the result of fluoride irritation from toothpaste.
The best way to prevent milia is to avoid treating your skin with excessively harsh chemicals and to limit sun exposure. Use a day cream which contains a good SPF factor, try to protect yourself with a minimum of a factor 25 if you suffer from Milia. (We’ll look into Sun creams another time).
Wash your face with a deep cleanser. A deep cleanser is one that is made for oily or blemish-prone skin. It will destroy dirt and environmental elements that would otherwise clog your sweat ducts and can contribute to milia seeds. (Try Germaine de Cappuccini – Pure T range or speak to your local “qualified” beauty therapist for more advice).
Exfoliate your skin. Regular exfoliation encourages skin cell generation, helping new skin cells to replace the cells affected by milia faster as well as buff and polish the healthy skin left behind. Exfoliation also helps to prevent new milia from forming.
Use a gentle mask on your face. This can help to draw any impurities out of your skin, thus helping to prevent further clogging of your sweat ducts down the road.
Get chemical peels. During a peel, acids are applied to your skin to burn away the top layers. Once your skin heals, it will appear younger and smoother, and your milia will be less noticeable. A series of peels are often needed to effectively get rid of milia.
Consider microdermabrasion. Dermatologists often use microdermabrasion to get rid of milia. A small sandblaster-type device is used to buff away the top layers of skin, effectively smoothing out the cysts. You will likely need a series of sessions to get rid of your milia
Apply a blemish treatment cream later on if you notice that your skin tone does not look even. This will help to correct that problem
To reduce creating milia around the eyes, use eye creams with the least amount of ingredients possible to avoid irritating the delicately thin eye area. Also, gently touch the eyes and avoid rubbing the eyes vigorously so as not to damage the skin.
When brushing your teeth, try to avoid leaving the froth around your mouth too long. This limits possible fluoride irritation to the skin.
Use a sunscreen with as very few amount of ingredients as possible. Extraneous ingredients like fragrances may irritate your skin. Additionally, purchase sunscreens that offer physical sun blockage that contain active ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
The key to getting rid of milia is realizing that they have no escape route, those little bumps are trapped under the skin. So, to get them out, you’ll need to have a professional like a dermatologist or aesthetician extract them.
You need to ensure that your milia are not symptoms of some underlying disease or illness. Also, if you extract the milia yourself, you may have trouble completely pulling out the cysts, as the removable process may prove too painful.
Now, you have no reason to walk around with little bumps on your face. If you still think you do, please consider the possibility that you’re just telling yourself little white bumpy lies.