If there’s one question that comes up time and time again in our skin consultations, it’s how to treat and prevent milia. Although they are nothing more than harmless keratin-filled small bumps, they can be frustrating to deal with. In today’s post, we will discuss their causes, as well as which products help eliminate them and which ones can make them worse.
What causes milia and how do they impact our skin?
Also known as milium or milk spots, milia are small white or yellow superficial cysts that appear on the skin, especially around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and mouth. Although at first glance they can be mistaken for whiteheads, milia just contain keratin (a skin protein) whereas white comedones have a “plug” of sebum. Milia also aren’t painful nor inflamed, and can’t be removed by squeezing them.
Common in babies (hence the term “milk spots”) as well as in adolescents and adults, these pesky white bumps are caused when dead skin cells and natural oils get trapped under the skin. Several factors can trigger their appearance, such as a lack of proper skin cleansing, certain medications, genetics, using skincare products that are too rich for your skin, and sun exposure.
Milia are by no means a cause for concern, but they can make the skin look dull and uneven, making them difficult to hide with makeup. What’s more, although they’re more common in oily complexions, dry skin can also experience them.
6 tips to treat & prevent milia:
- The first step is the most important: One of the most effective ways to prevent and treat milia is with proper skin cleansing. Use a gentle yet effective cleanser to unclog your pores. Our recommendation: Charcoal Peace Calming Cleanser.
- Use lightweight formulas: If you’re prone to milia, avoid skincare products that are too heavy or rich, as they can clog up your pores and exacerbate the situation. Look for lightweight products such as water-based serums. One of our favourites is Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum as it also regulates sebum production.
- Adequate skin hydration: For drier complexions, balanced hydration is not only key to keeping your skin healthy but also to prevent milia cysts from forming. Once again, lightweight textures are the way to go. For example: Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser.
- Avoid harsh exfoliation: Aggressive or frequent exfoliation can irritate the skin and make milia worse. If you feel your skin would benefit from a gentle yet effective exfoliation, using The London Mask once a week is ideal as a preventative measure for milia-free skin.
- Sun protection: Avoiding prolonged sun exposure is another must for skin prone to milia. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.
- Professional extraction: If you’ve tried all of the above with no success, the next step is to seek the help of a qualified dermatologist or a trusted skincare professional. Do not attempt to remove them on your own, as this can result in scarring or infection.