How To Diagnose And Treat Milia On Your Face

Posted on: 1 April 2016

If you suffer from small, raised, yellowish bumps on your face and cannot seem to get rid of them, these bumps might be milium cysts, or milia. These small cysts are usually harmless, yet they can be unattractive to look at. Milia is very common with babies and will usually clear up on its own, but children, teens, and adults can also develop these bumps. Here are several things you should know about milia.

How Milia Forms And Is Diagnosed

Milium cysts are typically easy to diagnose by a dermatologist, primarily because they have a unique appearance. They are usually slightly yellow in color, but can also be pearly white. They look like white heads on skin, but they are usually grouped in clusters and are small in size. Milium cysts are filled with keratin, which is a protein found in skin and hair, and they usually occur when keratin gets trapped in your skin. This type is called primary milia.

You may also develop secondary milia, which look the same but occur after you have suffered a burn, blister, or wound on an area of your body. In addition, milia is most commonly found on the face by the eyes; however, clusters of milia can also form on almost any other part of the body.

To diagnose this condition, a dermatologist will simply look at the bumps. If they look like milia, they most likely are. In rare occasions, milia may look slightly different in size, shape, and color. In situations like this, a doctor might want to take a biopsy of the bumps to test them. This is typically not necessary, but it might be suggested if the doctor suspects a problem.

Treatment Options For Milia

Milia is typically harmless, which means that it really does not require treatment; however, there are ways to eliminate these bumps if you do not like the way they look. You could try an at-home method for eliminating the bumps if you wish, and here are some options you could try:

  • Pull them out – If you take a clean, sharp needle and poke the bumps, you can then use a tweezers to remove the inner parts of the bumps. After doing this, the bumps might be slightly red, but this redness will go away within a few days. This method is not a good idea if your milia are near your eyes or if you have large patches of them. It is a good method, though, if you just have a few to remove that are not located near your eyes.
  • Use a scrub – There are a variety of ingredients you can use to make a scrub that may help you eliminate milia. Baking soda and oatmeal are two good options for this, and you can mix either of these with water to form a paste. You can then apply the paste to your face, let it dry, and rinse it off.

If you prefer having them removed professionally, your doctor might suggest using cryotherapy. This method involves freezing the bumps off with liquid nitrogen. After the doctor does this, the bumps will naturally fall off within a week or so. If you prefer, you could use a retinal cream instead. This may take longer than cryotherapy, but it could also help improve the looks of your skin overall. Chemical peels are another option you could try, and these are used to remove the outer layer of skin. When this layer is removed, the milia might naturally go away.

Having milia on your face is not uncommon or something you should worry about, but it can be embarrassing. If you would like to learn more about milia and professional treatment options, contact a clinic such as Dermatology Associates.