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What is milia and how do I treat it?

Amelia Asks:
What is the most effective (and cheapest) way to remove milia around the eyes? What causes it?
The Right Brain’s Milia-tary Response:
For those of you who don’t know, Milia is a skin condition that is characterized by small white bumps. The
most common types, primary and secondary milia, are keratin filled cysts that are essentially harmless. Unless you have a REALLY bad case as pictured above. Just kidding. Milia are extremely common in infants (but adults get them too) and they believed to be caused by oil producing glands in your skin that are not fully developed. (Here’s a link with more medical details on milia.)

What can you do about this problem? We wish there was a miracle cream or lotion but apparently there are no topical or systemic drugs that are proven effective against milia. However, your doctor can treat them surgically, in a process that we can only describe as … yuck:

…incision with a cutting-edge needle and manual expression of the contents are effective. This can be performed without local anesthetic.


Mmmmm. No anesthetic!

So, we’re sad to say, that unless you consider a visit to a dermatologist involving un-anaesthetized surgery as an option, your choices for “effective and cheap” treatment are pretty limited.

The Brains‘ Bottom Line:
The good news is most types of milia are harmless. The bad news is, there’s no cheap, easy way to get rid of them.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • A blissful place wellness March 26, 2015, 3:14 pm

    I love this site and the chemist for their experience and perspectives, however I’m having a hard time with accepting some of the recommendations when I have seen much less invasive solutions do the job- especially with milia and comes ones alike. This however is to address milia specific. I’ve been an estetician for 22 years and usually during an initial consultation milia is the first item of business clients want taken care if so I did a lot of research, trial and error and found years later that the same prescription works within 30-90 days consistently with most EVERY client.
    – stop using any products with dimithicone or other pore clogging ingredients.

    Add an am and pm glycolic wash and or treatment ( clean meaning no pore clogging inactive ingredients with it)
    3. Use a safe vitamin A serum and or moisturizer at night only- again without any of the pore
    clogging ingredients.
    4. Exfoliate skin once a week with a gentle enzyme based exfoliant for dryer skin OR a micro grain exfoliant for thicker more oily skin types.
    To keep mila and other skin and healthcare buggers away visit our website at http://www.ablissfulplace.com and search skincare or call us at 805-691-9233 we are here to help and want to partner with beauty brains so please let them know if this or anything else on our site has helped you. We love this site!!!

  • Marta December 28, 2015, 3:33 am

    Is using eyecream around the eye area instead of a regular one a good way to prevent milia?

    • Randy Schueller December 28, 2015, 9:51 am

      I don’t know but if it’s like acne, then it depends on the ingredients in the creams. I don’t know if milia is worsened by pore-clogging ingredients.

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