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We have been asked recently via telephone about Milia, what
they are and what skin care products can be used to remove them. The answer is
there is no skin care product available to remove Milia. Below is a detailed
description about Milia and the treatments available. At the Claudia McGloin
Clinic, we use either Thermal Abrasion or Advanced Cosmetic Procedures to
All our treatments are carried out by highly experienced Medical
Professionals that hold dual registration in both the UK and Ireland.
What are Milia?
Milia are small, raised, pearly-white or yellowish bumps on
the skin. They are usually about 1 or 2 millimetres and are most often seen on
the skin around the cheeks, nose, eyes and eyelids, forehead and chest but they
can occur anywhere on the body. Milia are very common in newborn babies but can
affect people of any age. In babies, Milia clear by themselves and no treatment
is needed. In others, they may take longer to clear and, in persistent cases,
treatment may be suggested.
What do Milia look like?
A Milium is a small, raised bump on the skin. It is a type
of tiny skin cyst filled with a protein called keratin. Many are usually found
together and so they are called Milia (the plural of Milium).
What are the types of Milia and what causes them?
There are different types of Milia.
N eonatal Milia. These are Milia that are seen in
young babies soon after they are born. They are very common and are usually
found around the nose area but may also occur on the scalp, cheeks, upper body
and inside the mouth. They are thought to arise from sweat glands that aren't
fully developed or mature. Around half of all babies develop neonatal Milia. In
fact, because they are so common, they are actually considered as normal in
·Primary Milia. These are Milia that can occur in
both children and adults.
·Secondary Milia. These are Milia that develop in
an area of skin, anywhere on the body, that has previously been damaged or
injured - for example, after a burn or a blistering rash. The Milia develop as the
skin heals and it is thought that damage to the sweat glands may be an
underlying cause. Secondary Milia also sometimes develop after certain skin
creams have been used - for example, corticosteroid skin creams.
·Milia en Plaque. Milia of this type are rare.
The Milia develop on an inflamed, raised patch of skin known as a plaque which
may be several centimetres across. The cause for Milia en Plaque is not fully
understood. It usually occurs behind the ears, on an eyelid, or on the cheeks
or jaw area. This type of Milia tends to particularly affect middle-aged women.
·Multiple Eruptive Milia. These are crops, or
patches of Milia that develop over a period of weeks or months. The crops
usually appear on the face, the upper arms and the upper trunk. Milia of this
type are also rare.
Do Milia cause any symptoms?
Milia do not usually cause any symptoms but, in some people,
they can become itchy.
How are Milia diagnosed?
Milia are usually diagnosed by their typical appearance and
generally no investigations are needed. However, in a few cases, if the
diagnosis is uncertain or if Milia en Plaque are suspected, your doctor may
suggest a skin biopsy. During a skin biopsy, a small piece of skin is removed
so that it can be examined under a microscope. There are different ways that a
skin biopsy can be carried out.
Is any treatment needed for Milia?
Milia are harmless and, in most cases, they will eventually
clear by themselves. In babies, they clear after a few weeks but, in some
people, Milia can persist for months or sometimes longer. Secondary Milia are
Because they normally clear by themselves, Milia do not
usually need any treatment. However, some people find Milia unsightly and so
opt for treatment. Milia may be removed using a fine needle and then squeezing,
or pricking, out the contents. No anaesthetic is needed. However, it is not
recommended to squeeze or try to treat Milia yourself. This can lead to skin
damage and scarring or infection.
If Milia become very widespread and persistent, various
other treatments may be suggested, usually by a Medical skin specialist.
·Cryotherapy (a type of treatment that freezes
skin lesions - a skin lesion is where a patch of skin has changed in
·Dermabrasion (a procedure that removes the
topmost layers of the affected skin).
·Chemical peeling (a treatment where a chemical
is applied to the face to burn off skin lesions).
·Advanced Cosmetic Procedures (a fine needle is
inserted into the Milia and a slight electric current is passed through the