Its amazing what you can learn at a medical conference. At a lunchbreak at the recent Mount Sinai Derm meeting, I sat down next to two young dermatologists. They were talking about milia, those little white bumps under the skin– sort of faux pimples. ( In the picture below my milia is under my eye). Milia are formed when a pore becomes blocked with dead skin cells. They are more common as we get older, the result of slower cell growth. Unlike the garden variety pimple, they do not contain oil or bacteria so they don’t become red and inflamed. Milia just sit there. Forever.
Another important difference, milia are actually in the dermis and if you try to remove them yourself, you can do real damage to the skin. Seriously, you can get infections and even scar the area. Case in point: Even when I had my milia removed by a physician, I got a shiner!
Sitting next to the derms I learned two new facts:
1) The best way to deal with milia is to exfoliate regularly with Retin A, dermabrasion or glycolic peels. Milia tend to come back in the same area but since I have been using Tri-luma ( which conains Retin-A), I have been milia-free.
2) Its an old wives tale that rich face creams promote milia. Good to know since I use a moisturizer under my eyes every night.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with milia. Where do they appear? How do you handle them?