Milia are small, white skin bumps that grow mostly on the face, around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and chin. These benign cysts form when glands under the skin fail to develop properly causing dead skin cells to become trapped. There are various types of milia. These cysts are classified based on the age at which they occur or the injury that causes the cysts to develop. Evidence has shown that adults, as well as infants, may develop milia. In infants, milia will disappear within a few weeks and should not be treated; however, the bumps are more persistent in adults and may require medical intervention. It is important to see a dermatologist for home remedies are rarely effective in treating milia.
We may begin by examining your skin to determine if milia are present based on the visual appearance of the cysts.
We may be able to extract milia by using a sterile lancing tool to pierce the bump followed by squeezing out the contents with a comedone extractor (i.e., tweezers). Again, it is worth mentioning that it is not recommended to do this at home. Milia will reappear if not eradicated. Other treatments utilized to removed milia include: deroofing (sterile needle to pick out the contents of the cyst), medications [topical retinoids (creams that contain vitamin A compounds)], laser ablation (small and focused laser to destroy the cyst), diathermy (using extreme heat to destroy the cysts), destruction curettage (surgical scraping and cauterization to kill the cysts), and cryotherapy (freezing the cyst; most frequently used method to destroy the cysts).