Milia are tiny, white bumps that can appear on the skin. Also known as milialar cysts or milk spots, these small keratin-filled cysts are generally harmless but can sometimes be bothersome. Milialar cysts are common in newborns but can occur in people of any age.

While newborn milia typically disappear within a few weeks, milia in older children and adults may persist. If you have concerns about milialar cysts on your skin, it’s important to understand what causes them and the available treatment options. In this article, we’ll explore what milia are, what leads to their development, and how healthcare providers can safely remove them if desired.

What is Milialar?

Milialar

Milialar

Milia are small, pearly white cysts that form just beneath the epidermis. These little cysts are filled with keratin, the protein that makes up our hair and nails. They typically measure about 1-2 millimeters in size, making them quite tiny and inconspicuous.

Milialar in Newborns

Milia are commonly seen in newborn babies. They typically appear around the nose, eyes, and sometimes even on the genitalia. The tiny cysts can sometimes be mistaken for warts or other skin conditions. Unlike baby acne, milia doesn’t cause inflammation or swelling. In infants, milia are usually present at birth and tend to clear within a few weeks.

Milialar in Older Children and Adults

For older children and adults, milia are usually associated with some form of skin damage. This damage can result from skin conditions or injuries like blistering. Milia can also be confused with stubborn whiteheads, which adds to the perplexity surrounding them.

What Causes Milialar?

Milia are formed due to the trapping of dead skin cells beneath the skin’s surface. Our body naturally sheds dead skin cells to make way for new ones, a process known as exfoliation. When these dead skin cells fail to shed properly, new skin grows over them, trapping them underneath and forming milia. Skin damage, such as blistering from skin conditions or injuries, can also lead to the development of milia. In some cases, milia can be associated with genetic or autoimmune skin disorders, like discoid lupus or lichen planus. Rarely, the use of certain creams, including steroid creams, can trigger milia formation.

Types of Milialar

Milia come in various types, each with its unique characteristics:

  • Neonatal Milia: Typically found in newborns and tends to disappear within a few weeks or months after birth.
  • Primary Milia: Common in children and adults and generally goes away within a few months.
  • Secondary Milia: Often caused by skin damage and may persist for a more extended period.
  • Milia En Plaque: A type of milia that occurs in specific patterns, like patches on the skin.
  • Multiple Eruptive Milia: Characterized by the presence of multiple milia cysts in one area.

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Treatment Options for Milialar

If milia are causing you discomfort or concern, several medical treatments can effectively eliminate them. It’s important to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for proper guidance. Here are some common medical treatments for milia:

  • De-roofing: This procedure involves a physician using a sterile needle or blade to remove the milia. Attempting this at home can lead to the risk of infection.
  • Curettage: A physician numbs the area, removes the milia, and seals the skin with a hot wire.
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing off the milia with liquid nitrogen. This can cause blistering or swelling, which should disappear within a few days.
  • Minocycline: An oral antibiotic that can be helpful in treating certain types of milia, such as milia en plaque.
  • Laser Ablation: Depending on the type, location, and extent of milia, a healthcare provider may recommend removing them using laser ablation.

A Word of Caution

It is essential to emphasize that attempting to remove milia yourself is not recommended. It can lead to inflammation, bruising, or infection, which can be more problematic than the milia themselves.

Conclusion

Milia, those small, white cysts that can appear on your skin or the roof of your mouth, are generally harmless but can be bothersome. If you have concerns about them, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options.