May 25, 2024

The Causes Of The Tiny White Bumps On Your Face

Milia: you might not ever have heard of them, but we can almost guarantee you’ve seen them. Ever wondered why those pesky hard whiteheads won’t disappear? Well, chances are they’re not whiteheads or any form of acne at all; they’re actually milia — sometimes referred to as milk spots.

While they most commonly crop up around the eye area — and can be so tiny you might not even have noticed them — they can actually appear in various places. You can have one or a few at a time, and they can give the appearance of an uneven texture to the skin.

Once there, milia can be seriously hard to eliminate, especially near the delicate eye area. Despite the fact they don’t really mean any harm, anything that sits on your face for months (years, even) without any sign of budging can be incredibly irritating.

Luckily, it turns out that preventing milia is actually relatively easy, provided you know what you’re doing. To help get navigate the world of these tiny but annoying spots, we’ve enlisted the help of a few experts to reveal exactly what milia are and what to do if you’re looking to get rid of them once and for all.

What are milia?

When it comes to getting to the bottom of any skin issue, it’s useful to know the problem inside out. Milia are small white or yellowish cysts that are made of keratin. “Keratin is a protein that’s contained in the outermost layer of the skin called the stratum corneum, and when debris is trapped beneath the surface of the skin, milia (keratin-filled cysts) are formed,” Dr Ash Soni plastic surgeon and founder of The Soni Clinic tells GLAMOUR.

“Like tiny cysts, they are formed from debris such as sebum (the natural oil we produce to lubricate our skin) and accumulated dead cells becoming trapped in the pores,” adds Lesley Reynolds, co-founder of the Harley Street Skin Clinic.

Typically, you can expect them to appear near the eyes, cheeks and nose in small clusters. But “you can also find them on your lips; often the lipstick edge (called the vermillion border),” says Spirithoula Koukoufikis, senior medical aesthetician at Skinfluencer.

Why do milia occur?

The bad news is, unlike other forms of cysts and spots, milia have the ability to occur totally out of the blue. However, some people are more prone to milia than others. People with oilier skin types might be more prone to milia due to the overproduction of sebum. In addition to this, “the changes in skin that happen from years of chronic sun damage seem to promote milia formation for predisposed people — another good reason to use sunscreen,” explains Spirithoula.

Likewise, milia can occur in absolutely anyone and everyone. While they are known to appear a lot on the skin of babies, they can (and do) occur in adults of all ages, sex and skin colour.

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