If you've noticed small, whitish, dome-shaped bumps under your skin then you might be suffering from a skin condition called Milia.
No, milia are not whiteheads and fruitlessly trying to pop them can be frustrating.
Milia are harmless and clear up in due time so it is best to just leave them alone.
What Are Milia?
Milia are keratin filled cysts that occur just under the skin's epidermis and result in the appearance of small white bumps on the skin.
Milia are also called 'Milk Spot' or 'Oil Seed'.
Milia are common on the skin of newborn babies (neonatal milia) but can affect just about anyone.
Milia appear in groups and commonly develop on the eyelids, around the eyes, on the cheeks, forehead and chin.
What Causes Milia?
- Keratin plugs
- Clogged pores
- Skin damage
- Rashes and blisters
- Reaction to skincare and cosmetic products
- Reaction to skin resurfacing procedures like lasers and dermabrasion.
Milia Vs Whiteheads
Milia are often confused with whiteheads because they look similar but other than their appearance, they have nothing in common.
Whiteheads are a type of acne while milia are not acne.
Milia are neither harmful nor painful. Milia appear spontaneously and mostly clear up on their own; within a few weeks for infants and a few months for adults.
However, a good skincare routine helps greatly in treating milia and preventing it from occurring further.
Disclaimer: Consult a registered or board-certified dermatologist if your milia are severe or don't clear up even after a few months.
Milia Face Care Routine And Remedies
1. Gently Exfoliate
Routinely exfoliate your face to keep it clean and youthful. Exfoliating removes the skin's layer of dead skin cells, impurities and keratin plugs.
Exfoliate once a week to improve the appearance of milia. Use skincare products that gently exfoliate the skin.
Exfoliating scrubs can be made at home using turmeric, besan, rice powder or orange peel powder.
[Also Read: Make Your Own Scrubs: DIY Body Scrub Recipes]
Cleansing the skin is very necessary to remove traces of oil, dirt and makeup.
Cleanse your face with a gentle and mild soap or facewash.
Use paraben-free and fragrance-free cleansers since these are not harsh on the skin. Natural and organic cleansers are best for sensitive skin.
Toning is an important part of skincare.
Toning improves the skin's appearance by making it look dewy.
Toners restore the skin's pH balance and make the skin tone even. Toners help in better absorption of moisturizes.
Natural toners can be made using rose water, green tea, milk, fruit juice etc.
[Also Read: Make Your Own Toner At Home: DIY Toners For Dry Skin]
Moisturizing ensures that the skin is replenished, nourished and hydrated. Moisturizing keeps the skin soft and supple.
Use a good moisturizer with antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
Moisturizing should be done right after toning while the skin is still damp.
Steaming the face is like a facial sauna.
Steaming opens up the clogged pores on the face. It also makes the face glow.
Pour boiling water in a pot and sit with your face above the pot. Spread a towel over your head to prevent the steam from escaping.
6. Sun Protection
Milia are common on sunburned or damaged skin. Avoid direct contact with the sun's harmful rays from 10 am to 4 pm.
Always apply sunscreen with minimum SPF 40 before stepping out under the sun.
Carry sun protection accessories like umbrellas and sunglasses.
[Also Read: Tanning: Types, Causes, Treatments And The Most Effective Home Remedies]
7. Use OTC Treatments
Retinoid creams are quite effective in treating milia.
Retinoid creams are rich in vitamin A which aids in the skin's cell regrowth process.
OTC creams, lotions, face wash and gels contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid and lactic acid are good for clearing the skin.
[Also Read: Add Face Acids To Your Skin Care Regime & You Won't Regret!]
8. Choose The Right Skincare Products
Milia can be caused by skincare or cosmetic products that are heavy on the skin.
Oil-based skincare products clog up the pores more quickly and make the skin greasy.
Always choose products that are labelled as non-comedogenic. Use only those products that suit your skin type.
Water-based skincare products are a great alternative to oil-based ones.
[Also Read: What Is My Skin Type And It's Preferred Products?]
9. Don't Pick Or Prod
It is always a good idea to avoid unnecessarily touching your face. As mentioned earlier, milia are not acne and hence it is futile to pop them.
In fact, attempting to squeeze milia may damage the skin further. Poking or prodding might cause scarring, cuts or scratches.
10. Always Pat Dry
Rubbing the skin with fabric causes friction. It can cause irritation and inflammation. Friction can irritate milia bumps further. Always pat dry your skin.
Patting is much gentler than rubbing or wiping.
It minimizes the chances of the skin getting pulled or dragged. Patting also improves blood flow to the area.
11. Try Facial Peels
Facial peels exfoliate the skin and clear it up. Use facial peels that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid.
Facial peels can irritate the skin if the ingredients in it do not suit your skin type.
Do not use facial peels on sensitive facial skin. Always do a patch test before using the peel directly on your face.
You can make a face peel at home using egg whites, tomato pulp, cucumber juice and pure milk.
12. Eat Healthy Food And Drink Water
Eat healthy food since our skin reflects what we consume.
A well-balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential fats ensures clear and healthy skin.
Avoid excess oil, salt, sugar and processed food. Drink lots of water to keep your body and skin well hydrated. Dehydrated skin causes many skin problems.
Home remedies for milia include:
1. Honey Mask
Honey is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Honey is also a good source of antioxidants. Honey soothes, nourishes and heals.
Simply apply honey on the affected area and rub it in very gently. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
2. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is richly packed with Vitamins A, C, E, B1 & B2, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid etc. Aloe Vera gel effectively clears the skin and also makes it smooth and soft.
Scoop out fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe leaf and apply it on the affected area. Rinse off after a few hours or let it sit overnight.
3. Sandalwood Paste
Sandalwood is great for the skin. It enhances the skin's complexion, clears blemishes and soothes the skin. It also has astringent and medicinal properties.
Mix sandalwood paste with milk and apply the formula on the affected area by gently rubbing in circular motions. Wash and pat dry after it dries.
Cornstarch soothes rashes, burns, itching and skin irritation. Cornstarch also acts as a gentle exfoliator. It also absorbs oil and is anti-inflammatory.
Mix cornstarch with milk and apply it on the affected area. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash off with cold water.
5. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and has multiple benefits for the skin. It is abundant in vitamin C which is anti-ageing and aids cell regeneration.
Simply put pomegranate juice on a cotton pad and keep it on the affected area. You can also store it in a spray bottle and spray it over your face.
6. Potato Paste
Potatoes have mild bleaching properties and help in clearing up the skin's appearance.
Potatoes also have high starch content which absorbs excess oils from the skin.
Blend half a raw potato and apply the paste on your face or simply rub a potato slice on your face. Wash your face after 15 minutes.
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