Ever get those annoying milialar bumps that seem to crop up out of nowhere? The ones that make you wonder if you’re suddenly allergic to your favorite face wash or if your skin is staging a mutiny?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Milialar, those little white bumps that form around hair follicles, are extremely common and often harmless. But that doesn’t make them any less irritating or embarrassing when they decide to make an appearance. Milialar usually form when dead skin cells and oil get trapped in pores, causing small cysts.
While milialar themselves are usually painless and not dangerous, they can be difficult to get rid of and often reappear. The good news is there are several treatments available to banish those bumps and reveal smoother skin.
What Are Milialar?
What Are Milialar?
Milialar, commonly known as milia, are tiny cysts that form just under the skin’s surface, typically on the face. Milia is the plural word used when there are multiple cysts. These little bumps appear as small, hard, white- or yellow-colored spots and contain keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails.
Milia most often develop on the nose, cheeks, and chin and are usually harmless, though they can be annoying. They tend to affect newborn babies, as their skin is still developing. Milia in babies often disappear on their own within a few weeks as the skin matures. In adults, milia are usually caused by skin or sun damage, skin conditions like rosacea or eczema, or certain cosmetic procedures like dermabrasion.
The best way to prevent milia is to keep your skin clean and hydrated, use sun protection, and avoid harsh skin care products. If milia persist or bother you, a dermatologist can remove them through a simple procedure like extraction, where the milia are popped and extracted with a sterilized tool. Laser therapy and retinoids can also help prevent milia from forming.
While milia themselves are harmless, their appearance may bother some. Don’t worry – with good skincare habits and professional extraction if needed, you can say goodbye to those little bumps and have clear, milia-free skin again.
Causes of Milialar
Have you noticed small, hard bumps on your face that just won’t go away? Chances are you’re dealing with milia. These little cysts form when dead skin cells get trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Milia can be frustrating, but understanding why they come about is the first step to getting rid of them.
Prolonged sun exposure can damage your skin and cause milia. Too much sun weakens and thickens the outer layer of skin, making it more difficult for dead cells to slough off. Genetic skin conditions like discoid lupus or lichen planus may also contribute to milialar formation.
Skin injuries such as cuts, burns, scrapes, or blisters provide openings for dead skin cells and keratin to become trapped, leading to milia. Harsh skincare products containing comedogenic ingredients like isopropyl myristate or isopropyl palmitate can clog pores and stimulate milialar growth.
Milia often form around the eyes, nose, and cheeks, but can appear anywhere on the face. While milia themselves are harmless, their appearance can be upsetting. The good news is with the proper treatment, such as manual extraction, laser therapy, or prescription retinoids, you can get rid of milia and restore your skin’s smooth, healthy glow.
Understanding the underlying causes of your milia is key to preventing future outbreaks and keeping your skin clear. Protecting your skin from sun damage, avoiding harsh skincare products, and allowing dead skin cells to shed properly can all help stop milia from coming back. With time and patience, you’ll be milia-free in no time!
Who Gets Milialar?
Milialar can affect people of all ages, races and genders, though some are more prone to developing them than others.
Teenagers and Young Adults
If you’re between your teens and early 30s, you may be more susceptible to milialar. During these years, your skin is producing excess keratin and oil due to hormonal changes, which can lead to clogged pores and trapped keratin deposits. The areas around your eyes, nose, and cheeks are especially vulnerable.
People with Oily Skin
If you have naturally oily skin, you’re a prime candidate for milialar. The excess oil production means there’s more keratin and dead skin cells that can get trapped under the skin. Oily skin also tends to have larger pores, so it’s easier for keratin to become trapped. Using harsh skincare products that strip your skin’s natural oils can also trigger milialar by causing your oil glands to go into overdrive.
Some people are just born more prone to developing milialar. If your parents or siblings get them, there’s a good chance you will too. Genetics account for up to 80% of a person’s tendency for milialar. While you can’t change your genetics, you can take preventative measures like using gentle skincare, exfoliating regularly and keeping your pores clear to minimize their appearance.
Certain medications like corticosteroids can trigger or worsen milialar. If you’ve started a new medication and notice an increase in milialar, talk to your doctor. They may be able to switch you to an alternative or adjust the dosage to improve your skin condition.
No one is exempt from getting milialar, but by understanding the factors that make you prone to them, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent and manage these little skin bumps. Keeping your pores clear, using non-comedogenic skincare and exfoliating regularly are some of the best ways to outsmart your milialar-prone skin.
Treatments for Milialar
There are several treatment options for milialar. The approach you take will depend on the severity of your milialar and your personal preferences.
Having a dermatologist manually extract the milialar involves using sterilized instruments to open up the skin over the milialar and extract the keratinous material inside. This provides immediate results but may lead to scarring if not done properly. Seek a board-certified dermatologist with experience performing this procedure.
Over-the-counter exfoliants containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Look for toners, serums or moisturizers containing at least 5% AHA or 2% BHA and use as directed. It may take several weeks of regular use to see improvement. These provide a gentle treatment but typically require ongoing use to prevent milialar from returning.
For stubborn or inflamed milialar, a dermatologist may prescribe topical antibiotics, retinoids (like Retin-A), or a combination. Topical antibiotics work by reducing inflammation and killing bacteria, while retinoids boost cell turnover to clear pores. A course of oral antibiotics may also be used for inflamed or cystic milialar. These medical treatments can be very effective but may cause skin irritation, especially when first starting.
With patience and consistency, milialar can often be brought under control using a combination of professional extraction, exfoliants, and prescription medications as needed. Be diligent about maintaining a proper skincare regimen to help prevent milialar from recurring. If your milialar do not improve with treatment or are significantly impacting your quality of life, procedures like laser or light therapy may provide more permanent reduction. Discuss all options with your dermatologist.
How to Prevent Milialar
To help prevent milia from forming, there are a few tips you can follow:
Wash your face daily
Gently wash your face every morning and night with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh soaps, abrasive scrubs, and very hot water which can strip your skin and clog pores. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and pat dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing vigorously. This simple routine will remove excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells – all contributing factors to milia.
Moisturize and hydrate
Keep your skin moisturized and hydrated by using a daily moisturizer formulated for your skin type. Look for non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizers that won’t clog pores. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will also keep your skin moist and promote skin cell turnover. Dehydrated skin is more prone to milia development.
Limit sun exposure
Too much sun exposure can damage skin and cause milia to form. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, especially on areas prone to milia like your cheeks, nose and chin. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating. Also wear hats and sunglasses for added protection.
Gently exfoliate your skin 2-3 times a week to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Use chemical exfoliants containing glycolic or salicylic acid or mechanical exfoliants like facial scrubs with synthetic beads. Be very gentle around the eye area. Exfoliation will unclog pores and allow milia to surface so you can extract them.
See a dermatologist
If milia persist or are causing you distress, see a dermatologist. They can properly extract milia that have formed and may prescribe topical retinoids or other treatments to prevent them from coming back. A dermatologist can also determine if there are any underlying conditions contributing to frequent milia outbreaks.
Following these tips for prevention and seeing a dermatologist when needed will help keep your skin clear and milia-free. Consistency is key, so stick with a daily skincare routine and avoid harsh products or over-exfoliating which can further irritate the skin.
So there you have it, an overview of what those pesky white milialar spots are and why they show up. While they’re usually harmless, it’s normal to find them annoying, especially when they crop up on your face. The good news is most cases will clear up on their own in a few weeks.
If they’re stubborn or worrying you, see your dermatologist. They can determine if any treatment is needed or provide reassurance that the spots are benign. In the meantime, try not to stress – your skin is constantly renewing itself, and those milialar will fade away in time. Focus on maintaining a healthy skin care routine, limit sun exposure, stay hydrated, and get enough rest. Your skin will thank you, and hopefully, those milialar will become a thing of the past.