Have you ever notice the tiny white bumps on your skin? Usually, it is located just below your lower eyelid or around your eyes and sometimes in the genital area – they are called milia.
Milia is a plural of a milium cyst, it is a skin condition that looks like a cluster of cysts. It is a result of a trapped protein known as keratin beneath the skin’s surface. It can occur in newborns and usually clears up within a few weeks, adults, on the other hand, are more prone to them and can take longer to disappear. Proper treatment given by a skilled skin doctor is advisable in order to properly remove milia.
Primary milia occur when keratin is trapped under the surface of the skin. This type of milia usually occurs on the eyelids, forehead or even the genitals, and may disappear on its own within a few weeks or months.
Secondary milia are tiny cysts located in skin areas that have experienced injury, a burn or blistering. They often appear red around the edges and white in the middle.
Neonatal milia are perhaps the most common form of milia. Milia newborn conditions usually appear on the face, scalp and/or torso.
Juvenile milia usually stem from genetic disorders such as pachyonychia congenital, Bazex-Dupré-Christol syndrome, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome or Gardner syndrome.
Multiple eruptive milia typically occur on the face, arms and torso and are often characterized by itchiness. They can last anywhere from weeks to months.
Though rare, milia can also develop as a result of using steroid cream.
Milia en Plaque
This type of milia is often associated with autoimmune or genetic disorders such as lichen planus or discoid lupus. Milia en plaque can be found on the ears, cheeks, jaw or eyelids. It most commonly affects middle-aged women but can also affect milia adults and children of all ages and genders.
There are many potential causes of milia, which can often be traced to your skin-care regimen or a separate issue that has affected the surface of the skin. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Use of Heavy Skin Care Products
The most common cause of adult milia is the use of heavy skin and hair care products and items. Comedogenic products (those containing oils) can interfere with the skin’s ability to shed dead skin cells. Products fitting this description can include comedogenic makeup remover, moisturiser, hair gel, hair spray and thick sunscreen. People with milia eyelid problems or milia on the lips should take a look at the ingredients in the products they apply to these areas.
Long-term Exposure to the Sun
Milia can also develop as a result of sun damage. As the skin ages, its outer layer thickens, and this can interfere with the skin’s ability to slough off dead cells. Thicker skin is also more difficult to successfully exfoliate.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
Milia are sometimes linked to skin diseases such as Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT), a blistering disorder. The good news is, this condition is uncommon — there is certainly no reason to assume that you have a blistering disorder just because you have milia. Even if you do develop PCT, symptoms are likely to alert you to the problem. These can include blisters as well as new hairs on the face, knuckles and the backs of the hands.
Some people inherit skin disorders or predispositions.
While milia are certainly an inconvenience, they are benign growths and don’t necessarily require treatment but most of us find it very bothersome.
The best treatment that we could suggest to remove milia, and to possibly prevent recurrence is by electrodesication, laser therapy, chemical peels or dermabrasion.