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

What are milia and what causes them? It is a widespread query in my dermatology workplace – as a result of milia are widespread. You may get milia at any age, although they grow to be a extra widespread pores and skin downside as you grow old. I obtained 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 find out how to deal with them. 

Dr. Bailey, I’m 59 yrs outdated and liable to milia.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 best ways to forestall them?

I think that I get extra milia after I’ve been utilizing suncreens w/ zinc.  Is that this attainable, or am I off-base?

My finest protection up to now 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 are really little pockets fashioned out of your high skin-layer referred to 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 quite a lot 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 referred to as the stratum corneum. 

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

Milia will not be clogged pores. They’re only a pocket of regular pores and skin that someway indented, sealed over, and the lifeless cells received trapped.

  • Milia normally type spontaneously, not for any cause that we ever determine. 
  • They normally happen on the face, however I’ve seen them on the neck, scalp, chest, again, and even the again of the arms.
  • The modifications in pores and skin that happen as a result of years of persistent solar harm appear to advertise milia-formation for predisposed folks. 
  • 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.

The easiest way to forestall milia is by utilizing 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 night time cream to battle milia equivalent to 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 be confirmed to battle the mobile modifications of pores and skin getting old, and these also can result in milia.

How do you deal with and forestall milia?

Nothing completely prevents milia from forming in the event you’re liable to them.

Skincare merchandise that assist to forestall milia

What’s milia extraction?

Milia extraction is a process carried out within the dermatology workplace that’s enormously appreciated by anybody who has milia! Present milia that do not reply to exfoliating skincare might 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 might be gently extracted utilizing a device referred to as a comedone extractor. A comedone extractor is similar device 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 chance 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 carried out 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 may be nonetheless no scientific proof linking milia and sunscreen use. We all know that sun-damaged pores and skin is liable to milia and so I really assume that makes zinc oxide sunscreen useful for stopping them in some sense.

can sunscreen cause milia

For my part, mineral zinc oxide mineral sunscreens present one of the best solar safety for the pores and skin and are subsequently essential for stopping the pores and skin solar harm that may result in milia. – Dermatologist Dr. Bailey

Which means that utilizing a zinc oxide sunscreen each day might in the end scale back an individual’s lifetime danger of being a “milia former” since sun-damaged pores and skin is liable to milia.

Greatest facial sunscreens for milia

Ensure that you put on a light-weight facial sunscreen day by day. Choose one that will not clog your pores, that you simply love in your pores and skin and that you’re completely happy to use day by day as a part of your morning skincare routine.

The preferred facial sunscreens in my dermatology follow to forestall facial solar harm which will result in milia:


best sunscreen for milia prone skin

Sheer Energy Pure Bodily Matte Tinted SPF 30+ Sunscreen. That is my private day by 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 essential function in uniquely additionally blocking seen and digital blue mild from getting into pores and skin the place it could actually trigger damaging free radicals and darken pigment pores and skin issues equivalent to melasma and age spots. Each males and lady love this product, it is perfect for greasy complexions because of the matte base and it is a terrific base for make-up.    

best zinc oxide sunscreen for milia

Sheer Energy Pure Bodily Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen is right for these not wanting tinting. This product can be water-proof, making it good for sweaty actions and swimming.

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

Sheer Energy Pure Bodily SPF 50 Refresh Sunscreen is the perfect method 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 notice 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 normal well being data impressed by your query. It shouldn’t be an alternative to acquiring medical recommendation out of your doctor and isn’t supposed to diagnose or deal with any particular medical downside (and isn’t an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has offered in her workplace for present sufferers of her follow). By no means ignore your individual physician’s recommendation due to one thing you learn right here; this data is for normal informational goal solely.

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


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