Pimples can be painful, annoying, and downright embarrassing. Pimples can also make a person feel less confident about their appearance.
This may be a big TMI, but each type is different and should be treated differently. A pimple with a hard white seed should be treated differently than a blackhead and vice versa.
This type of skin condition that feels like a hard white seed is known as milia. Milia are usually a cluster of small white bumps or cysts under the skin. In adults, milia are often found around the eyes and can sometimes be seen in clusters.
This article will discuss what milia are and how to best get rid of them.
What are Milia?
Milia is characterized by a cluster of white cysts or white bumps just under the surface of the skin. These white bumps contain keratin and dead skin cells. Your skin is constantly turning over and milia occur when new skin is added and the dead skin cells, or keratin, get trapped underneath it.
Interestingly, milia aren’t pimples because there is no pore that gets clogged, they are simply keratin that gets built up under the skin’s surface.
In adults, milia usually appear on the cheeks, nose, eyes, genitals, and eye area. Babies are even born with milia. Milia are not caused by allergies. They can feel like a hard seed or grain of sand.
Milia is not a skin disease. Anyone who has skin will get milia at some time. But don’t despair, there are many methods to get rid of milia. However, squeezing them is not an option and can cause skin damage.
Milia can also be called milk spots or oil spots and often look like a pimple with a hard white seed.
“Milia” is the plural for the cluster of small white cysts. Just one cyst is called a “milium”. It’s always good to improve your vocabulary…why not toss out these new ones at your next cocktail party?
Besides newborn milia, the most common types of milia are
These milia occur when old skin cells get trapped under the newer layer of skin. They usually disappear within a few months. These usually occur on the forehead, cheeks, and nose.
Secondary Milia happen after skin damage. This type of milia occurs beneath skin that has an injury, irritation, rash, or burn, as well as excessive sun exposure. To prevent skin damage, a professional should perform secondary milia removal. Milia can even be caused by heavy or occlusive skin care products.
Milia cysts: Why are they so common?
As we noted before, pretty much anyone with skin can get milia, from infants to adults. They are only something to fret over if they bother you.
Is Milia a Pimple with a Hard White Seed?
Although they look alike, whiteheads (a type of pimple) are not milia. Whiteheads are clogged pores, while milia happen when dead skin cells get stuck underneath the new layer.
Pimples usually have a soft center, while milia have a hard core. Neither should be squeezed or popped since it can damage your skin and cause more problems.
How can I get rid of Milia?
Even though Milia don’t need treatment, you may want to get rid of them if they bother you or they make you self-conscious. Whatever you do, don’t try to squeeze them out. Since they are not clogged pores, you’ll just bruise and damage your skin.
Here are the best ways to remove the best ways to get rid of milia or any pimples with a hard white seed.
1. Exfoliate Your Skin
Exfoliating skin removes the dead outer layers so they don’t get stuck under the new layers and cause milia. Exfoliating is also super effective for whiteheads and other pimples.
Using a chemical exfoliator can take a while, but once you’ve integrated it into your skincare system, you can look forward to clearer skin and fewer clusters of milia in the future.
Give it time and have patience because milia can be stubborn.
Types of exfoliators that are effective against milia are:
- Salicylic acid products like cleansers, toners, and spot treatments
- Glycolic acid products and serums
- Adapalene (brand name Differin) used for acne can be helpful
2. Topical Retinoids
If you’ve tried exfoliating but are still frustrated, talk to your doctor about a prescription for a topical retinoid like tretinoin Generics are super affordable and super effective.
Retinoids are supercharged exfoliators that can free all the stuck skin cells faster than over-the-counter (OTC) products.
3. See a Dermatologist
If you’ve tried the DIY methods but still are bothered, see a dermatologist. They can be easily removed in a doctor’s office by piercing the skin and squeezing the hard core out.
Depending on where you live, estheticians can also do this procedure.
How can you prevent it?
While whiteheads can occur at any time and without warning, they can be prevented by protecting the skin from sun damage and overuse of skincare products. Exfoliating with a facewash or serum can help remove dead skin cells and allow for new skin to form.
How to prevent future milia from forming
The best way to prevent milia and hard white seeds from forming is to take good care of your skin. While there is no way to prevent all milia, follow these steps to protect your skin in the future:
1. Cleanse skin regularly
Wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser. Avoid scrubbing or harsh cleansing agents that can irritate your skin and make pimples worse.
it’s important to cleanse your skin regularly and remove excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.
2. Stay away from heavy products
Use a light moisturizer to help control oil production. Look for products labeled “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” that won’t clog pores. It’s best to treat your oily skin gently.
3. Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to pimples and milia.
4. Try a retinoid
Retinoids can help keep the dead layer of skin from building up, so milia are less likely to form. Retinoids can also improve acne and wrinkles.
Can You Pop Milia like a Pimple?
Please don’t pop and damage your skin. Because milia aren’t stuck inside a closed pore like a pimple, squeezing them will only harm your skin.
Are Milia Harmful?
Milia are not harmful at all. Most will disappear on their own. If they’re troubling, see a dermatologist, or try some of the above treatments.
Are Milia Contagious?
Definitely not! You can not get milia from touching someone with milia.
The Takeaway: Milia are not pimples, but they are treatable
Those things that seem like pimples with a hard white seed are a skin condition called milia. They are super common for anyone who has skin. They should be treated with exfoliation but never squeezing or popping. If your milia bother you see a dermatologist for a prescription retinoid and treatment.