What are Milia?
Milia are very common pearly-white bumps, most commonly seen around the eyes and the upper cheeks. They are tiny cysts, that contain keratin and sebum (lipid epithelial plugs or epidermal inclusion cysts). Milia are the shape of a dome, 1-3mm in diameter, sitting just under the skin surface. Milia are often seen in clusters and can occur anywhere on the body.
Although milia are harmless and do not usually cause any problems or discomfort, some people do not like the way they affect their cosmetic appearance.
Why do I get Milia?
There are two types of milia primary and secondary.
Primary milia cysts contain keratin, they develop in the pilosebaceous follicle just under the skin. Primary milia are often seen on babies facial skin; people often call them milk spots. These milia nearly always go as the baby’s skin matures.
Milia seen in adults are less likely to go. Research suggests that milia in adults may be due to skin damage or the use of products containing mineral oil and lanolin. It suggests that milia arise because of a build-up of the lanolin and mineral oil in the follicles.
Secondary milia occur due to skin trauma such as sunburn, radiotherapy or long term steroid use.
How can I treat Milia?
Milia treatment is not available on the NHS as they are a cosmetic problem. There are no prescription treatments currently available to help them.
Occasionally some milia improve with topical retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid’s (AHAs). At Cheshire Lasers, we have found some milia have reduced or gone with Neostrata Eye Cream around the eyes or Glo Renew serum if they are further away from the eyes.
Skin specialists often remove milia with a sterile needle. For this procedure to be successful, it is important to remove the whole milia. This procedure usually leaves a small red mark /ulcer where the milia were, which often heals quickly.
Hyfrecation can be used to destroy and remove the cyst. This involves a fine tip needle delivering either an electric current or radiofrequency energy into the lesion. At Cheshire Lasers, this is our treatment of choice. Aesthetic nurse Moira removes them using advanced electrocautery, and Helena Fryer removes them using advanced electrolysis. These procedures usually leave a small red mark /ulcer where the milia were, which often heals quickly.
Cryotherapy is sometimes used to freeze the cyst; which leaves a small blister and can take over a week to resolve.
Prevention of Milia
If you are prone to Milia you will find more will probably return over time. The use of retinol products and AHAs that stimulate cell renewal and encourage a faster skin cycle turnover can reduce the risk of them returning.
Also, it is crucial to avoid skin products which contain mineral oils and lanolin as these increase the risk of reoccurrence.
Prices for Milia Removal