Milia: symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment


Milia are small cysts that form on the skin. They are also known as "milk cysts". Milia are formed when a protein called keratin enters the skin. The little bumps look like whiteheads , but they are not acne. Unlike pimples, they do not develop in the pores, they do not become red or inflamed.

This article looks at the causes and diagnosis of milia. It also provides information on treatment and tips on prevention.

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Symptoms of milia

Milia are hard, bulging cysts that form under the outer layer of the skin. They are white to yellowish in color. They may look like a grain of sand or a hard milk capsule.

Milia are usually small, 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. Some may be enlarged. Milia will not explode and will take a long time to leave.

Milia can appear anywhere, but most of the time they are found on the face. They can appear around the eyes and cheeks, nose, and forehead. Milia does not hurt or itch. They are annoying but harmless.

Milia usually last longer than acne. Pimples heal in a few days, but milium can persist for weeks or months.

The aggressive form of milia exists but is rare. This is called multiple eruptive milia. Eruptive milia form on the head, neck, and trunk. They can last for weeks or months. Unlike other types of milia, eruptive milia are usually inflamed .


Milia is similar to acne, but it is not the same. They are common on the face. The miles can last a long time, but they are harmless.

What causes milia?

Milia forms when keratin gets trapped under the skin. Keratin is the protein that gives skin its structure. It can get stuck when the skin doesn't flake off or remove dead cells.

Milia are often mistaken for acne, but they are not the same. Comedones or pimples form when pores are blocked. Milia does not form in the pores. They form just under the top layer of the skin.

Milia is very common. They can occur at any age. Even babies can have milia. In fact, up to 50% of healthy newborns develop milia. In newborns, milia usually disappear within a few weeks.

In most cases, malias have no clear cause. However, some people are more inclined to get them. If you have acne and blackheads, you probably have milia, too. But milia can form even if your skin is clean.

Multiple eruptive milia are believed by medical professionals to be genetic. People with rare genetic skin conditions, such as Gardner syndrome, often have milia eruptiva.

Milia can also form after skin lesions such as:

  • Burns
  • Sun tanning
  • Blistering rashes

Certain medications can cause milia, especially:

When the miles arise on their own, they are called "primaries." The milia that forms after illness or injury is called a secondary milia.

How are milias diagnosed?

Medical professionals can often diagnose milium by its appearance. But there are other reasons for the appearance of small white bumps on the skin. If the cause is not clear, a dermatologist can remove the cyst and examine it under a microscope. This can help with the diagnosis.

Basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, can also be seen as a pearly white bump. If you have a lump that won't go away and you're not sure what it is, call your doctor.

Is there a treatment for milia?

Thousands generally leave on their own. Sometimes it can take months or years. If you don't want to wait, talk to your doctor. Medications like retinoids and glycolic acid can help your skin shed and replace cells more quickly.

It can also eliminate irregularities. The process is simple and you will see results immediately.

Do not try to extract milia yourself at home. To remove milium, your doctor will make small incisions in your skin. The healthcare professional removes the plugs with tweezers and a magnifying glass. Dry cells can be removed beforehand. This is done with a topical scrub.

Your healthcare professional or dermatologist can help you choose the best way to treat milia.

Can a mile be prevented?

There is nothing you can do to prevent milium completely. However, it can lower your chances of getting them. If you are prone to miles, it could be because of what you put under your skin. Thick, thick eye creams and moisturizers can cause milia.

It would be nice to change your skincare routine. Look for foods that are labeled "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic." These foods are less likely to clog your pores. They are also less likely to cause keratin overgrowth.


Milias can be annoying, but they are harmless. You can reduce your chances of getting milium by changing your daily routine on your skin. You can also delete them. Talk to your healthcare provider about the different treatment options for milia.

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