Milia is a medical term for a condition that occurs when small tiny, usually white or yellow colored bumps appear on your skin. Milia is a Latin term originated from the plural word milium. In the midst of 19th century, this condition was supposed to be known as Millet, due to the fact that these bumps looked like Millet seeds.
Milia may occur at any stage of life, but most commonly they appear with newborn babies. In this condition, there is an entrapment of dead skin cells, keratin (which is present in a generous amount over our skin’s top layer, nails, and hair) or skin flakes beneath the surface of the skin, due to which slight bumps appear over your face. These occur mainly near the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead of the neonates, adolescents or adults. According to a research report, almost 40 to 50 percent newborn babies possess this condition by birth.
TYPES OF MILIA:
The syndrome is usually self-treatable i.e. it gets recovered by itself, especially in newborn babies, they get resolved with time and the continuously growing of skin. Milia can be categorized into different types which may include as follows;
This type of milia is particularly restricted to the neonates. As mentioned earlier, around 40 percent of newborn babies are born with this condition. But as they grow older, their bumps resolve with time. These cysts usually appear on the face, scalp and upper torso of their body.
Primary milia in children and adults:
This is the condition which occurs when there is excessive production of keratin, and this keratin gets trapped over the surface of your skin, forming into slight bumps. Primary milia can have a shorter life and maybe gets resolved within a few weeks, but it may also last longer and can take years to be treated. These cysts are formed around the eyelids, forehead, and genitalia.
Milia en plaque:
Milia en plaque also is known as MEP is the type of milia which occurs as a result of some autoimmune skin disorders or may be due to genetic disorders like discoid lupus or lichen planus. It is a benign disorder that mostly occurs in middle-aged women. In this condition, there is a broad form of a plaque like abrasion over the surface of your skin. It can be easily diagnosed as the cyst is broader rather than being high. This is also self-treatable and can be resolved with time, but if it doesn’t happen then treatment options may include topical creams, cryotherapy, laser therapy, and dermabrasion
Multiple eruptive milia:
Also known as multiple eruptive milium syndromes, includes the formation of numerous patches consisting of small cysts grouped together over your skin. The cause of it may be unknown, but according to a research, MEM can occur as a result of cancer therapy. The patches appear, particularly over your head and neck region. This can also be resolved with time if not, treatment must be taken.
They occur as a result of some trauma or injury to the skin, particularly when your skin gets burnt, or have some injury like bruises. The patches appear due to burns or injury is the irritating ones and they cause severe itching sometimes. The cysts formed are usually red from the edges and white from the center.
Milia associated with drugs:
This type of milia occurs due to the use of creams containing the high amount of steroids in them. It is a very rare form of this syndrome but might occur as a side effect of these creams over the surface of the skin. It appears particularly where the cream has been applied.
Here is a pictorial illustration of different types of skin bumps, to differentiate between milia and other conditions:
Milia get resolved usually within a month of its appearance. But there are other conditions as well that may be associated with it, like the formation of bumps and cysts in the mouths of infants are known as Epstein pearls. In primary milia, the cysts may be 1-2 millimeter in size around the nose, chin, and cheeks of an infant. There are no other symptoms that might occur as a result of this condition but sometimes, the patches might become itchy and irritating.
It can be easily diagnosed via the doctor you visit regularly, or a dermatologist can also help you out to diagnose this problem in a more precise manner. No other tests are required for its diagnosis. But sometimes, a skin biopsy is done in order to differentiate milia from other skin diseases.
1. The prior thing that we should keep in mind is that milia usually require no treatment. It can be resolved by themselves so one should not go specifically for its treatment. But there are some precautions and remedies that can be taken care of by being at home.
2. DO NOT rub or scrape your skin, if the bumps are causing irritation to your skin. Try to resist the itching, because if you will scrap these cysts, they might get ruptured and this will cause more irritation and itching to your skin. Also, a torn skin is much more prone to infections as bacteria are easily attracted towards the torn parts of your skin.
3. Keep your skin always hydrated. It is best to clean or wash your skin thoroughly with your regular face wash once or twice daily. For children, it is recommended to use facial cleansers as well, once a day. And for adults, they must apply the facial cleansers gently on their skin twice daily. You must visit your doctor before using a facial cleanser as he may suggest you the best one according to your skin type. Otherwise, just go for a normal facial cleanser with deep cleaning and moisturizing effects.
4. Milia occur due to the lack of exfoliation of skin, especially in babies. You cannot use facial cleansers or face wash over the skin of your baby. So it is better to wash the babies affected areas thoroughly with warm, fresh water and pat dry the skin with a paper towel. For adults, a wide range of exfoliating products is easily available in the market. You must prefer such products which contain vitamin A and also must contain the least amount of oils.
For targeted milia, you must have the products which you have to directly apply to the affected areas. The product must contain citric acid, glycolic acid or salicylic acid as they have found to be really effective for treating bumps.
5. Use of retinol has also found to be really effective for treating milia. Retinoid creams are widely available in the market which you can use for its treatment. These retinoid reams contain vitamin A which causes prevention from acne, signs of aging and keep your skin healthy and free from pigmentation.
6. Manuka honey can also be used for it as it contains the anti-microbial properties and it reduces the chances of infection bacteria might cause to the skin. Milia are not caused by bacteria though, but this honey can help make your skin look better.
7. A combination of sandalwood and rose water helps to reduce excess oil from your skin and also removes the dead cells from the surface of your skin. So this might also play a great role in the treatment of milia.
8. Apart from these remedies, you can also use pomegranate peel powder, as it is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil can also be used because it prevents excess oil production from your skin, scrubs containing sugar granules are also helpful as they are good exfoliating agents and helps treat various skin condition.
1. Try to take niacin supplements, also known as vitamin B3 as niacin is considered to be responsible for the smooth and proper working of many metabolisms and processes in our body but it is also responsible for maintaining a healthy skin. Do not overdose it as it may cause adverse effects when taken in too much quantity.
2. Biotin, which is a complex of a co-enzyme and vitamin B is also known as vitamin H. it also helps in maintaining a healthy skin, that’s why it may also help in resolving milia.
3. If milia are not getting treated by itself, and it appears to be ugly on your face, then you may also try the surgical procedures to remove that. For this, a doctor will have to cleanse the affected area of your skin with alcohol, and then with the help of a lancet he will insert it near the area where the bump is present, then he will apply pressure on your skin with come done extractor, this way, the milia will pop out from the surface of your skin and it can be easily removed then. After the completion of the procedure, apply a regular moisturizer in order to avoid any irritation or scars.
4. If milia occur in certain areas of your body in which it is dangerous to insert the lancet directly, then the doctor will consider freezing it prior to operating. He will apply alcohol to the affected area like the eyelid, which is a sensitive part, then he will freeze it with the help of a small wand or tool, once the affected part is frozen, the doctor can easily insert his lancet to remove milia. This process is known as cryotherapy.
Hence, the main punch of this whole article is that milia do not require special treatment as it resolves itself with time. But if a person wants to have a treatment, he can use whether the home remedies that are mentioned above or if the condition is worse, you can also go for the surgical and medicinal option.