There are two main types of white bumps on face. One is milia and the other is caused by shaving. From distance, they may look like pimples, but they are not. Their cause is different and, of course, they cannot be popped like pimples.
A milium is a small, dome-shaped bump that is usually white or yellowish in color. There are two types of milia, primary and secondary. In primary milia, the skin does not slough off normally and dead skin remains in a pocket on the surface of the skin. Secondary milia form in the areas of the skin that have been affected by another skin condition, for example after sunburns, blistering or trauma.
Milia are rather common in infants, it is estimated they affect up to 50 percent of all newborn babies. This is probably because the sebaceous glands in infants are not yet fully developed.
Primary milia is usually seen around the eyes and the nose, while secondary milia can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin where another skin condition exists or has existed.
White bumps after shaving
White bumps that appear after shaving are a completely different issue than milia, although the two look very similar. Those that appear after shaving are also called razor bumps. They occur for a number of reasons. One of the most common ones is ingrown hair, where the hair remains under the surface of the skin, instead of growing out.
White bumps can also occur if the adequate aftercare is not done after shaving, or if the shaving is too fast or hard.
How to eliminate white bumps on skin
Since white bumps on skin can be caused by different factors and since there are basically two main types of them, there is no single treatment for this issue. Primary milia usually go away on their own after a few weeks, so there is no need to have a specific treatment. The secondary milia, on the other hand, will not go away on their own and they require medical treatment. The commonly used treatment for this issue are topical creams with trentinoin and tazarotene, which are usually issued only with a prescription. Fruit peels and microdermabrasion are other possible treatments for secondary milia.
As for the razor bumps, they can be avoided by exfoliating the skin before shaving, applying a good aftershave lotion and moisturizing cream after shaving, using products made for sensitive skin and shaving gently, in the direction of hair growth.
Ingrown hair is a common issue that can also be prevented by exfoliating the skin frequently. If a hair is already ingrown, it can be pulled out very gently, using tweezers, taking care not to make a large hole on the skin because it may leave a scar. It is also vital to use a disinfectant on the affected area. Lotions with glycolic acid are also quite useful for this issue.