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.