What is Milia?
Milia also known as whiteheads are very common white pimples that can occur in persons of all ages. They appear mostly on the upper cheeks, nose and chin of infants. This occurs when dead skin cells and sebaceous matter gets trapped near the skin surface rather than exfoliate naturally.
Milia are “closed comedones”, whereas blackheads are “open comedones”. Milia are similar to blackheads, except they are not exposed to oxygen in the air because dead skin cells cover the opening of the pore. The reason a blackhead appears black is because of the exposure to oxygen which oxidises it.
Causes of milia
- Skincare products that contain oil especially mineral oil, which blocks the pores.
- Make up that contains artificial colour, which stimulates oil production, leading to blocked pores (mineral make up is the best as its both oil free & artificial colour free.
- Occlusive moisturisers.
Heavy cosmetics – thick and heavy cosmetics or poor quality products which are not suitable for the skin prevent the sloughing of dead cells.
- Excessive sun exposure makes the skin thick which is unable to exfoliate naturally.
Products to treat milia:
Products that are effective for milia removal, are the exact same as what is used to prevent & treat blackheads.
Deep exfoliating product ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) and beta hydroxy acid i.e. Salicylic acid & glycolic acid found in the product.
Professional treatments for Milia:
The milia can be lanced with an electrolysis needle, while the current is passing through the needle, which will pierce an opening. Then the contents of the milia can be squeezed out. However Milia will return quickly if oil free skincare and make up is not used daily.
There is a variety of professional peels available, from glycolic peels, microdermabrasion mechanical peel, and Natural Botanical AHA peels. These will help, but often times the milia needs to be lanced first, especially if the milia are too small to be squeezed out. The choice of professional peel is often times irrelevant to the outcome, as they all do similar jobs, some may be deeper penetrating than others though.