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What are milia?

Millia are tiny white bumps that usually appear around the eyes and on the sides of the nose. They are typical for newborns, so some call them “baby acne.” However, milia are not acne. They are actually build-up of keratin which is normally contained in the skin.

Most babies outgrow milia but they can sometimes recur during adult life or occur in adults who never had them as babies.

Milia are not dangerous in any way, but for some people they are an annoying and unappealing cosmetic issue. There are several methods for removing them, and some of them can even be done at home.

Milia treatment and tips

There are several steps to be followed in order to remove eliminate milia effectively at home.

First of all, skin needs to be well moistened, otherwise the milia will persist. The face should be washed three times a day with lukewarm water and a mild soap. After cleaning, the face should be pat-dried, without scrubbing, because scrubbing can irritate the skin and aggravate the milia. It is best to use a soft paper towel which will allow the skin to soak up as mush moisture as possible.

The next step is to apply hot packs to the area affected by milia for five minutes. This will create an effect similar to that of a sauna, the skin will start to sweat and the pores will open, bringing the keratin bump closer to the surface of the skin. Eventually it will come out on its own.

Exfoliating is important part of this treatment because it removes dead skin cells and allows the keratin to reach the top layers and dissipate. Exfoliating should be done once a day or every other day.

Since milia are not acne or pimples, they should not be squeezed or pierced. In fact, squeezing them may irritate them and they may become painful and unsightly.

However, some people choose the faster way and remove the milia bumps on their own. If a person decides to do so, it is important to prevent an infection by carefully washing hands and face before starting. A milia bump can be pierced but only with a sterile needle. The needle should be inserted gently through the center of the bump, just so a tiny hole in the skin is made, and then the bump is squeezed until all the material inside goes out. It is recommended to follow up with an astringent in order to prevent infections.

Squeezing a milia bump is only recommended if other treatment, for example with heat packs, did not work. Even then it is better to have it done by an esthetician, dermatologist or other professional.

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