Ever noticed those pesky little white bumps under the skin that seam to pop up from nowhere and never go away? No matter how much squeezing, poking and prodding they just wont budge.
These are not just a stubborn white head; they are known as milia. When dead skin cells and keratin (a strong building blocks type protein found in skin, hair and nails) become trapped between the layers of the epidermis, and a fine layer of skin grows over the top almost capping this accumulation of cells, preventing it from naturally sloughing off. They are not harmful but can be a bit of a nuisance, in most cases there is no underlying health concern, however, in rare cases an autoimmune or genetic condition may be the rout cause of excess milia. (don’t panic, this is not very common at all) Even babies get Milia.
Milia often appear underneath the eyes and on top of the cheekbones, but they can crop up anywhere, eyelids are another pesky area they can often be seen. It’s a really common problem that can affect anyone of any age and skin type, but it is particularly common in people with drier skin types or those with sun-damaged skin because skin cell turnover may be more sluggish. Milia can be stubborn and difficult to get rid of but all is not lost –
Abigail’s top do’s and don’ts to combat Milia
- Cleanse twice daily with a good cleanser and a muslin cloth, double cleansing is even better.
- Exfoliate regularly, AHA, BHA, at home gentle peel, you name it, get those dead skin cells sloughing off.
- Daily facial massage, particularly around milia, will improve circulation and encourage it to loosen
- Consider adding in a gentle retinol at night time, this will speed up skin cell turnover. (be careful around the eyes, you can get specific eye care retinols)
- Think about adding hydration to a dry skin with a hyaluronic acid serum in place of a heavy moisturizer
- Leave removal to the pros – contact your local salon (by salon I mean skincare expert) check whether they have a good facialist who is able to remove them for you. They will use a small probe or sterile needle to remove milia safely, it might be a little uncomfortable and may cause minimal redness and even slight bleeding dependent on the severity of the Mila and also the area on the face being treatment. Whilst there may be a little temporary redness, it’s definitely better than permanent scarring!
- Remove your eye makeup every night. I know that Smokey eye from the night before can look sexy but it wont do any good for helping milia on your eyelids and around the eyes.
- Book in for a gentle face peel, I would ask for a peel containing lactic acid, this also adds hydration to the skin stimulating your own moisturizing within the skin while making the surface fresh and smooth.
- Microdermabrasion, is also helpful for sloughing off dead skin cells professionally, if your scared of a peel maybe opt for Microderm.
- However tempting it might be, do not pick, it will only end in tears – unless you are a trained professional, you probably won’t be able to remove it with your fingers, and you’re only going to make your skin angrier and more inflamed than it was and potentially risk scarring.
- Use heavy moisturizers, you might be using an antiaging cream when your skin doesn’t need something quite so rich.
- Don’t use products containing ingredients such as mineral oil and silicones. These create a barrier on the surface on the skin which is the last thing you need when you want to get rid of milia.
- Mila are not caused by bacteria as some might think – it isn’t a spot, so it’s important not to treat it like one, your salicylic, benzoyl peroxide, lavender and tea tree are not going help.
- Use a night moisturizer, use a night oil or serum to feed the skin at night time.
- Don’t over strip the skin in your quest for improved skin cell turnover, all things in balance, if your skin is going red and sensitive with your homecare then maybe you went a little too far!
- Sleep in your makeup. Come on girls you know this!