Got Milialar? How to Treat Those Annoying White Bumps


You wake up one morning and notice little white bumps all over your face. Ugh, not again! Those annoying milia bumps are back. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Milia are common, harmless white bumps that can pop up out of nowhere. They’re caused by keratin trapped under the skin, and while harmless, can be unsightly. Luckily, there are some easy at-home treatments you can try to get rid of them for good. In this article, we’ll break down what exactly milia are, what causes them, and a few DIY methods you can use to treat them. With some gentle exfoliation and moisturizing, you can outsmart those pesky milia bumps. Read on to banish those bumps once and for all!

What Are Milialar?

You’ve probably noticed those tiny white bumps popping up on your face, especially around your eyes, cheeks, and nose. Annoying, right? These little bumps are called milialar, and they form when dead skin cells, oil, and keratin get trapped under your skin.

Milialar aren’t acne, but they are a type of cyst filled with the same gunk that causes whiteheads. Unlike pimples though, milialar don’t have a pore opening to the surface of your skin. That trapped keratin and skin cells cause a little pearl-like bump instead.

While mostly harmless, milialar can be unsightly and frustrating to deal with. They tend to show up more as we age, thanks to slowing cell turnover. Sun damage and genetics also play a role in their formation. And once they appear, milialar can hang around for weeks or even months since they have no way to drain.

The good news is there are ways to treat milialar safely at home. Read on to learn how to banish those bumps for good! With consistent effort, you can clear away dead skin, oil, and keratin so your complexion looks smooth and bump-free again.

Common Causes and Locations of Milialar

Those little white bumps popping up on your skin can be so annoying! Let’s break down what causes milia and where they typically appear.

  • Clogged pores and oil buildup. Milia often form when dead skin cells, oil, and other gunk get trapped in your pores. This blocks the normal shedding of skin cells and creates those bumps. Areas with lots of oil glands like your nose, cheeks, and eyelids are prime real estate.
  • Sun damage. Years of sun exposure can damage collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, making it thicker. This can disrupt normal cell turnover, leading to milia. You’ll often see them on the cheeks, nose, and forehead.
  • Heavy cosmetics. Thick creams, foundations, and concealers can get buried in pores and cause blockages. Using lots of products around the eyes is a common culprit.
  • Newborns. Milia are common in infants but normally clear up within a few weeks. They result from mom’s hormones still circulating. You’ll see the pearly bumps across the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead.

The takeaway? Milia have a range of causes but all stem from blocked pores and disrupted skin cell shedding. Be gentle with your skin, limit sun exposure, use non-comedogenic products, and exfoliate regularly to minimize your risk. But if those pesky bumps still show up, don’t pick – see a dermatologist for safe removal.

Milialar vs Other Skin Conditions

Those tiny white bumps on your skin can be annoying, but are they really milialar? Milialar are small, hardened cysts under the surface of the skin that contain keratin, a protein found in skin cells. They typically appear on the cheeks, nose, around the eyes, and forehead. However, milialar can sometimes be confused with other common skin bumps. Here’s how to tell them apart:

  • Milia – These are the true milialar. They are dome-shaped, painless, and feel hard/gritty if you try to squeeze them. Milia don’t have a red base and are not filled with pus or liquid.
  • Whiteheads – Unlike milia, whiteheads are pus-filled pimples. They often have a red base and are tender to the touch. Whiteheads can appear anywhere, including places prone to acne breakouts.
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia – These flesh-colored bumps are caused by enlarged oil glands. While they are typically not painful, sebaceous hyperplasia has an irregular shape compared to the round uniformity of milialar.
  • Epidermoid cysts – Much larger in size, epidermoid cysts sit deeper under the skin with just a small visible area on the surface. They contain a soft, yellowish substance instead of keratin.

The key is that true milialar will not be red, sore, or filled with liquid/pus. They are simply small pearl-like cysts under the surface of the skin. While milialar are harmless and painless, their appearance can still be bothersome. Knowing how to properly identify them is the first step in exploring treatment options.

Treatments and Home Remedies for Milialar

Got those annoying little white bumps called milia? Also known as milialar, these tiny cysts form when dead skin cells and oil get trapped under the surface of the skin. Treating them properly is key to getting rid of them for good. Here are some tips:

  • Use a retinol cream. Look for creams containing retinol or retinaldehyde. These vitamin A derivatives help unclog pores and exfoliate the skin to bring trapped dead cells and sebum to the surface. Apply sparingly to avoid irritation.
  • Try an exfoliating scrub. Look for scrubs with gentle exfoliants like oatmeal or coffee. Use 2-3 times per week to slough off dead skin and bring milia to a head. Avoid harsh scrubs with beads or shells.
  • Use a chemical exfoliant. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid help dissolve the “glue” holding milia in place. Start with a low percentage acid 1-2 times per week and increase carefully.
  • Consider professional extraction. See an esthetician or dermatologist for professional extraction using a sterile needle. Do not try to pop them yourself with needles.
  • Apply a warm compress. A warm, damp washcloth applied for 10-15 minutes can help soften skin and bring milia to a head for easier extraction.
  • Use tea tree oil. Its antibacterial properties make it great for spot-treating stubborn milia. Mix with a carrier oil before applying to avoid irritation.
  • Increase exfoliation and moisturize. Boosting your regular exfoliation regimen while using a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer can help prevent new milia.

With consistent, gentle care, you can kiss those little white bumps goodbye. Be patient and do not pick – allowing them to surface and extract properly is key to preventing scarring or infection.

How to Prevent Future Milialar Breakouts

The best defense against milialar is a good daily skincare routine. Here are some tips to help prevent those annoying white bumps from making an encore appearance:

  • Exfoliate regularly. Use a gentle face scrub or chemical exfoliant 1-2 times per week to slough off dead skin cells. This keeps pores clear and lessens the chances of trapped keratin and sebum.
  • Use oil-free moisturizers and makeup. Greasy products can clog pores and lead to whiteheads. Look for labels that say non-comedogenic or oil-free.
  • Wash your face morning and evening. Using a mild cleanser twice a day removes dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin. Be sure to remove all makeup before bedtime.
  • Try retinoids. Retinoids like tretinoin and adapalene help keep pores clear by increasing skin cell turnover. Ask your dermatologist if they might be right for you.
  • Use sunscreen daily. UV exposure can damage skin and worsen breakouts. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Don’t pick or pop milialar! This can spread bacteria and cause scarring or hyperpigmentation. Instead, use a warm compress to help draw them to the surface.
  • Consider professional extractions. See an esthetician or dermatologist for periodic extractions if you have recurring milialar. They can safely remove trapped keratin and sebum.
  • Identify and avoid triggers. Take note of products, foods, or activities that seem to precede breakouts. Discontinue or limit as able.

With diligent skincare and awareness of personal triggers, you can keep milialar bumps at bay. Don’t be discouraged if they occasionally occur—just get back to your prevention plan ASAP.


You don’t have to live with those white bumps forever. With some simple skin care changes and professional treatments, you can clear up milia and get back your smooth, glowing complexion. It may take some trial and error to find the right approach. But don’t lose hope! Have patience and stick with a milia treatment plan. In time, you’ll be milia-free. And you’ll be glad you didn’t give up. Your clear, radiant skin will be worth the effort. So hang in there and keep at it. With the right care, you can kiss those little white bumps goodbye!

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