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Milia are tiny hard keratin-filled cysts. They lie superficially under the surface of the skin and look like whiteheads. Milia are most commonly seen over upper cheeks and beneath the eyes but can occur anywhere on the body. They are often no larger than a pinhead. They can appear as an isolated nodule or in clusters.


Milia are caused by a buildup of excess keratin cells in the pores that trap oil under the skin forming  hard cysts.  Common in infants, milia often develop in adulthood. The exact cause is unknown but the condition is often linked to diet and to wearing occlusive skincare products that do not allow skin to breathe and may prevent the sloughing of dead epidermal skin cells. Overexposure to sun can also cause milia, as skin becomes hard and leathery and its natural shedding process is impaired. Sometimes genetics plays its part, as we inherit certain skin conditions.


What to do if you suffer from milia?

Try to exfoliate, i.e. scrubbnig off the top layer of your skin regularly, using natural exfoliants like honey, oatmeal, baking soda mixed with cator oil. 


Use light texture SPF products. The changes in the skin that occur due to years of chronic sun damage promote milia formation.

Avoid skincare products containing mineral oil, some silicone oils or wearing heavy makeup.

If the condition is spread over a wide area, your GP may prescribe you a topical retinoid cream which promotes faster cell turnover. However,  overexposure to retinoids may also present a problem.

Try to resist the urge to remove milia bumps yourself, as they can become infected.  It is important to extract them correctly with a professional excision or sterile needle so that you do not damage your skin. The electrolysis uses sterile needle to pierce the epidermis and remove milia or apply heat to ablate the lesions.

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