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 will get milia at any age, although they turn out to be a extra widespread pores and skin drawback as you become older. I acquired a pleasant query about milia from a reader and thought everybody wish 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 previous and liable to milia.  I even have delicate pores and skin, rosacea, and not too long ago seborrheic dermatitis (facial dandruff).  Would you please clarify what causes milia, and one of the best ways to forestall them?

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

My greatest protection up to now has been Retin-A, however my pores and skin has been extra delicate these days.

Thanks, Susan

Expensive Susan, 

what causes milia dermatologist explains

Milia are small cysts which can be truly little pockets shaped out of your high skin-layer referred to as the dermis. They appear like pinpoint-hard white cysts, generally with a blackhead-like opening to the pores and skin floor.  When an individual has loads 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 kind from a pore?

Milia aren’t clogged pores. They’re only a pocket of regular pores and skin that one way or the other indented, sealed over, and the lifeless cells acquired trapped.

  • Milia normally kind spontaneously, not for any purpose 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 fingers.
  • The adjustments in pores and skin that happen attributable to years of power 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 kind. 
  • So are the rashes of allergic reactions and irritation from harsh merchandise.

The easiest way 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 kind a milium. You want a robust retinol evening cream to combat milia similar to my skilled power Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Evening 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 combat the mobile adjustments of pores and skin getting older, and these can even result in milia.

How do you deal with and forestall milia?

Nothing completely prevents milia from forming when 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 identical device used to extract blackheads. In my workplace, it is 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 probability 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 at all times 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 liable to milia and so I truly suppose 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 the very best solar safety for the pores and skin and are subsequently vital for stopping the pores and skin solar harm that may result in milia. – Dermatologist Dr. Bailey

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

Finest facial sunscreens for milia

Make certain that you put on a light-weight facial sunscreen every day. Choose one that will not clog your pores, that you simply love in your pores and skin and that you’re pleased 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 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 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 function in uniquely additionally blocking seen and digital blue mild from coming into pores and skin the place it may trigger damaging free radicals and darken pigment pores and skin issues similar to melasma and age spots. Each males and girl love this product, it is splendid for shiny complexions as a result of 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 good for these not wanting tinting. This product can be waterproof, making it good for sweaty actions and swimming.

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

Sheer Energy Pure Bodily SPF 50 Refresh Sunscreen is the best approach to reapply sunscreen all through the day with out including a layer of liquid product. It is a nice sunscreen tip for milia inclined 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 health care provider/affected person relationship with Dr. Bailey. The data offered by Dr. Bailey is basic 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 meant 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 present sufferers of her observe). By no means ignore your personal physician’s recommendation due to one thing you learn right here; this data is for basic informational function solely.

Writer: Dr. Cynthia Bailey M.D. is a Board Licensed dermatologist practising dermatology since 1987. She has carried out nicely 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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