What Causes Milia? | Dr. Cynthia Bailey Pores and skin Care

What are milia and what causes them? It is a frequent query in my dermatology workplace – as a result of milia are frequent. You may get milia at any age, although they change into a extra frequent pores and skin drawback as you grow old. I acquired a pleasant query about milia from a reader and thought everybody want to see the reply.

Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey solutions your questions on what causes milia and learn how to deal with them. 

Dr. Bailey, I’m 59 yrs outdated and susceptible to milia.  I even have delicate pores and skin, rosacea, and lately seborrheic dermatitis (facial dandruff).  Would you please clarify what causes milia, and one of the simplest ways to forestall them?

I believe that I get extra milia once I’ve been utilizing suncreens w/ zinc.  Is that this potential, or am I off-base?

My finest protection previously has been Retin-A, however my pores and skin has been extra delicate recently.

Thanks, Susan

Expensive Susan, 

what causes milia dermatologist explains

Milia are small cysts which might be truly little pockets fashioned out of your prime skin-layer known as the dermis. They seem like pinpoint-hard white cysts, typically with a blackhead-like opening to the pores and skin floor.  When an individual has a variety of them, the pores and skin takes on a cobbled look.

The white materials in a milium (single for milia) is made up of cells from the lifeless pores and skin layer known as the stratum corneum. 

Do you know that milia don’t type from a pore?

Milia are usually not clogged pores. They’re only a pocket of regular pores and skin that by some means indented, sealed over, and the lifeless cells received trapped.

  • Milia often type spontaneously, not for any purpose that we ever determine. 
  • They often happen on the face, however I’ve seen them on the neck, scalp, chest, again, and even the again of the palms.
  • The modifications in pores and skin that happen on account of years of power solar injury appear to advertise milia-formation for predisposed individuals. 
  • Milia additionally are likely to happen after a rash or pores and skin harm. 
  • Rosacea and facial dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) are rashes that may trigger milia to type. 
  • So are the rashes of allergic reactions and irritation from harsh merchandise.

One of the simplest ways to forestall milia is through the use of a retinol cream

prevent milia with retinol

Retinol helps loosen lifeless cells in order that they do not get trapped and type a milium. You want a powerful retinol evening cream to battle milia reminiscent of my skilled power Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night time Cream. Sufferers discover that they really feel the small pre-milia ‘pill-up’ and roll off their pores and skin. Even established small milia might open and fall out. Retinol can also be confirmed to battle the mobile modifications of pores and skin ageing, and these may also result in milia.

How do you deal with and stop milia?

Nothing completely prevents milia from forming should you’re susceptible to them.

Skincare merchandise that assist to forestall milia

What’s milia extraction?

Milia extraction is a process finished within the dermatology workplace that’s tremendously appreciated by anybody who has milia! Present milia that do not reply to exfoliating skincare may be manually extracted in a medical workplace. As a result of the pores and skin over the milia is lanced, care must be taken to forestall a pores and skin an infection.

  • On this process, the pores and skin over the milia must be disinfected with rubbing alcohol and lanced with a sterile instrument. Then the small deposit of lifeless pores and skin may be gently extracted utilizing a instrument known as a comedone extractor. A comedone extractor is identical instrument used to extract blackheads. In my workplace, this can be a medical process as a result of any puncture of the pores and skin creates the danger of infections.
  • Additionally, the puncture and subsequent strain with the comedone extractor creates a small wound, and as with every wound, there’s a very small likelihood of leaving a mark or scar after phrases. The underside line is that you really want this finished by somebody that is aware of what they’re doing!

Can sunscreen trigger milia?

Susan, I used to be not capable of finding any medical reference connecting milia formation with zinc oxide sunscreen. 

I have been requested this many occasions and I all the time do a contemporary literature search. There’s nonetheless no scientific proof linking milia and sunscreen use. We all know that sun-damaged pores and skin is susceptible to milia and so I truly assume that makes zinc oxide sunscreen useful for stopping them in some sense.

can sunscreen cause milia

In my view, mineral zinc oxide mineral sunscreens present one of the best solar safety for the pores and skin and are subsequently vital for stopping the pores and skin solar injury that may result in milia. – Dermatologist Dr. Bailey

Which means utilizing a zinc oxide sunscreen day by day might finally scale back an individual’s lifetime danger of being a “milia former” since sun-damaged pores and skin is susceptible to milia.

Greatest facial sunscreens for milia

Make sure that you put on a light-weight facial sunscreen every day. Choose one that will not clog your pores, that you just love in your pores and skin and that you’re blissful to use every day as a part of your morning skincare routine.

The most well-liked facial sunscreens in my dermatology observe to forestall facial solar injury which will result in milia:


best sunscreen for milia prone skin

Sheer Power Pure Bodily Matte Tinted SPF 30+ Sunscreen. That is my private every day facial sunscreen of all time! The bottom is light-weight and by no means feels heavy on the pores and skin. Iron oxide tinting know-how gently blends into all pores and skin tones – from actually fare to melanin wealthy, this tinting know-how is a pleaser. Know that iron oxide serves an vital position in uniquely additionally blocking seen and digital blue mild from coming into pores and skin the place it could possibly trigger damaging free radicals and darken pigment pores and skin issues reminiscent of melasma and age spots. Each males and lady love this product, it is supreme for shiny complexions because of the matte base and it is a terrific base for make-up.    

best zinc oxide sunscreen for milia

Sheer Power Pure Bodily Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen is good for these not wanting tinting. This product can also be waterproof, making it excellent for sweaty actions and swimming.

Professional-tip for sunscreen reapplication for milia susceptible pores and skin:

Sheer Power Pure Bodily SPF 50 Refresh Sunscreen is the perfect solution to reapply sunscreen all through the day with out including a layer of liquid product. This can be a nice sunscreen tip for milia susceptible pores and skin!

can sunscreen cause milia

 All sunscreens are hypoallergenic, perfume free, cruelty free and made in the usA.

I hope this helps!

Heat Regards,

Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

Disclaimer: Please understand that availing your self of the chance to submit and obtain solutions to your questions from Dr. Bailey doesn’t confer a physician/affected person relationship with Dr. Bailey. The knowledge offered by Dr. Bailey is common well being data impressed by your query. It shouldn’t be an alternative choice to acquiring medical recommendation out of your doctor and isn’t supposed to diagnose or deal with any particular medical drawback (and isn’t an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has offered in her workplace for current sufferers of her observe). By no means ignore your individual physician’s recommendation due to one thing you learn right here; this data is for common informational objective solely.

Writer: Dr. Cynthia Bailey M.D. is a Board Licensed dermatologist working towards dermatology since 1987. She has finished properly over 200,000 pores and skin exams throughout her profession and authors the longest working doctor written pores and skin well being weblog on this planet.


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