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Let’s Talk About a Little Bitch Called Milia

MILIA. What a fucking little bitch.

It sneaks up on you when you least expect it. There you are, living your life, you head to a bathroom, glance in the mirror, & all the sudden, to your horror, there are little bumps under eyes.

& these aren’t bumps you can pop. I mean, you can’t pop them like a pimple ( but if you want to know the best way to do this check out this post ). Milia is here to stay & it’s like a long, drawn out relationship that you don’t want to be a part of.

In this post you’re going to read about how I combat milia, & some tips & tricks that helped me break up with it.

Personally, I’ve noticed that any time I sweat it becomes more prominent. Even if you try to cover it with makeup you can still see it. Every time I workout, there it is. But let’s get all science-y & shit to really get into it.

 What is milia?

A milium cyst is a small, white bump that typically appears on the nose and cheeks. These cysts are often found in groups. Multiple cysts are called milia.

Milia occur when keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Keratin is a strong protein that’s typically found in skin tissues, hair, and nail cells.

Milia can occur in people of all ethnicities or ages. However, they’re most common in newborns. { via }

The Different Types of Milia:

Milia types are classified based on the age at which the cysts occur or what’s causing the cysts to develop. These types also fall into primary or secondary categories.

Primary milia are formed directly from entrapped keratin. These cysts are usually found on the faces of infants or adults.

Secondary milia look similar, but they develop after something clogs the ducts leading to the skin’s surface, like after an injury, burn, or blistering.

♡ neonatal milia

Neonatal milia is considered primary milia. It develops in newborns and clears within a few weeks. Cysts are typically seen on the face, scalp, and upper torso. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, milia occur in 40 percent of newborn babies.

♡ primary milia in older children & adults

Cysts can be found around the eyelids, forehead, and on the genitalia. Primary milia may disappear in a few weeks or last for several months.

♡ juvenile milia

Rare genetic disorders that affect the skin can lead to juvenile milia. Such as:

+ Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS). NBCCS can lead to basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

+ Pachyonychia congenita. This condition may cause thick or abnormally shaped nails.

+ Gardner’s syndrome. This rare genetic disorder may lead to colon cancer over time.

+ Bazex-Dupré-Christol syndrome. This syndrome affects hair growth and the ability to sweat.

♡ milia en plaque

This condition is commonly associated with genetic or autoimmune skin disorders, such as discoid lupus or lichen planus. Milia en plaque can affect the eyelids, ears, cheeks, or jaw.

The cysts can be several centimeters in diameter. It’s primarily seen in middle-aged females, but can occur in adults or children of any age or either sex.

♡ multiple eruptive milia

This type of milia consists of itchy areas that can appear on the face, upper arms, & torso. The cysts often appear over a span of time, ranging from a few weeks to a few months.

♡ traumatic milia

These cysts occur where injury to the skin has occurred. Examples include severe burns and rashes. The cysts may become irritated, making them red along the edges and white in the center.

♡ milia associated with drugs or products

The use of steroid creams can lead to milia on the skin where the cream is applied. However, this side effect is rare.

Some ingredients in skin care and makeup products can cause milia in some people. If you have milia-prone skin, avoid the following ingredients:

+ liquid paraffin

+ liquid petroleum

+ paraffin oil

+ paraffinum liquidum

+ petrolatum liquid

+ petroleum oil

These are all types of mineral oil that may cause milia. Lanolin may also increase the formation of milia. { via }

The Skinny Confidential Guide to Milia:

♡ cryotherapy / cold plunges.

You can get liquid nitrogen that freezes off the milia, but I think just being cold does the trick. Lately I’ve been doing a freezing cold shower for 3 minutes every day & I find it really gets rid of milia.

Even just a cold rinse on my face keeps it away, whereas I’ve noticed a hot shower makes it way worse. So get cold, do cryo, step into a cold shower. Freezing cold showers for life.

♡ lancing.

Lancers are these tiny little needles that can prick the milia. This is not my favorite & would be my last resort. I’ve only had milia around my mouth lanced & haven’t done it around my eyes. If you’re going to go this route, I would go see a professional & not attempt it yourself.

♡ retinoids.

Any cream that contains Vitamin A is going to exfoliate the skin in a gentle way without being too rough. If you have milia, I recommend looking for products with Vitamin A.

♡ lasers.

This is recommended by a lot of facialists. They do some laser around the milia & that helps shrink them. Apparently this is typically very effective.

♡ chemical peels.

Not a huge fan of peels because I had one when I was younger, then went out in the sun & it really fucked up my skin ( hey hyperpigmentation mustache ). So personally, this option is not for me, but people do it & it helps peel the skin off & get rid of milia.

Some people recommend surgically removing them, but no thanks. Also diathermy is extreme heat that destroys the cyst, but again, this isn’t for me. Cold all the way PLZ. Can’t be doing all that heat on my face.

All in all though, I think the main trick to dealing with milia is 2 tips. The first one is staying out of extreme heat. Avoid hot yoga, if you’re going into a sauna get into some cold after, also try to keep lotion or cream off your face if you’re doing something hot like that, & try to use a sunscreen only, not a moisturizer if you’re going out in the sun. Moisturizer makes it worse because it makes your skin kinda sweat.

The other tip, that everyone should be doing way more, is to focus on your eye cream. Like, really inspect it, k? My personal opinion is that eye creams make milia worse. When I had a lotion based eye cream it made my milia worse. So the most effective way to do something DAILY to combat milia, is to find a legit eye cream. I love a balm & am obsessed with Sonya Dakar’s eye balm because it’s full of caffeine & doesn’t clog your skin like a normal cream or lotion does.

Sidenote: Use code SKINNYJADE for 15% the Jade Energy eye balm.

Be sure to listen to the legendary aesthetician & chemist, Sonya Dakar on the podcast

Anyway, milia really isn’t the worst problem to have, but I just wanted to discuss it on the blog because A LOT of people deal with it.

I’d love to know all your tips & tricks for getting rid of milia. Tell tell!

x, lauryn

+ scope how I used my daughter’s diaper cream as a spot treatment.

++ the top beauty products that The Skinny Confidential community can’t get enough of.


  1. I had this all over my cheeks and jaw last summer for literally 5 months! No idea what it was, until just now reading this post!!! Thank you.
    Not only did I not know what it was, I really didn’t know what caused it or where it came from. Cue my best guess: A few weeks prior to first noticing the milia I had tried threading (hair removal) for the first time. I had my whole face done. Do you think this could have caused the milia? From irritation or possibly injury? Tiny ingrown hairs?
    I also have mild milia under my eyes as well, just to note. Mentioning Bc I could be prone, however under eye and cheeks/jaw seem to be two different situations?
    Great info and tips if it ever happens again! Most definitely sticking to good old fashioned waxing from now on!

  2. Well hot damn. That explains why a lovely constellation on my chin wasn’t responding to peels & acne treatments – it’s milia!

  3. Thank you for writing about this I thought I was the only one! I had milia for the first time beginning of this year, I noticed it after using an expensive eye cream my mom got me. I think it irritated the skin so I went into a plastic surgery office where they also did facials and the doctor did a quick shot to numb me then removed it. It was a little red that day and completely gone the next day! Fingers crossed it hasn’t been back since ?

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