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How to Get Rid of Milia: Those Tiny Bumps Under Your Eyes

Do you have hard, white bumps on your face that won’t go away? You might be suffering from milia. Here we identify what it is and the best advice on how to get rid of milia.

What is milia?

We reached out to Sandra Kopp of the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York to identify exactly what milia is. “Milia appears as tiny white hard bumps with no inflammation or redness around it,” she says. The lack of inflammation and pain is a common sign that sets milia apart from other types of acne.

Many mistake milia as closed comedones (also known as whiteheads) but milia isn’t created from a pore but rather are small cysts that occur when keratin gets trapped under the skin. “Closed comedones or whiteheads can mimic milia but they usually have a mild degree of inflammation around them and other signs of acne, like cystic pimples, pustules, or blackheads,” says Kopp.

Milia commonly appears near the eyes or the apple of the cheeks but can also pop up in the other places.

Why does milia happen?

It’s a bit unknown as to exactly why milia occurs but the consensus suggests that it can form from heavy use of comedogenic oils/moisturizers or from damage to the skin from rashes, blisters or burns, allergic reactions, or even sun damage (use SPF friends!). Certain skin conditions, like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis, can be more susceptible to developing it, as well.

The worst part about milia is that it can take literally forever for it to go away. I can attest to this fact because when I was younger, I had milia right by my eye that took (I KID YOU NOT) almost a year to disappear. This was way before my skin care junkie days so I didn’t do much to treat it. How did I get rid of it? Well, it’s a complicated process, but I’ve gathered the best treatment suggestions for getting rid of milia for good.

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The most effective treatment to target these eye sores is to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. When you avoid exfoliating, your skin builds up dead skin cells which could end up clogging your pores, leading to a dull, lackluster appearance to the skin. 

If you want to safely exfoliate the eye area (including the lids), try the Isomers Skincare Exfoliate and Renew Eye Peel Treatment, which is formulated to be used in the delicate eye area. It uses lactus bacillus ferment which are fermented enzymes and peptides to gently exfoliate dead skin cells helping to fight milia as well as smoothing out any fine lines and wrinkles.

For those who like the best of both worlds, try using the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea. These pads are raved about because they’re gentle skin and combine a physical and chemical exfoliator all in one. They will help to deeply penetrate the pores and clean out any gunk lingering below the skin’s surface. Plus, they’re convenient and easy to use—one swipe of these pads and your skin will be feeling refreshed in no time.

For those who prefer chemical exfoliation, try the Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9 Treatment, which is a powerful spot treatment that helps get rid of extremely resilient skin issues, such as clogged pores, bumps, or dry patches. It’s also formulated with milia-prone skin types in mind so you get a controlled release of salicylic acid onto the skin that will help to target those stubborn bumps. Note: While this is an eye safe formula, you do want to avoid the eyelid or lash line when using this product.

For sensitive skin types, the Paula’s Choice product might be a bit much so you’ll want to steer clear of this one and check out the My Skin Mentor Dr. G. Brightening Peeling Cream instead. This cream combines AHA, BHA, and PHA with brightening and moisturizing ingredients to create the perfect exfoliating moisturizer that won’t irritate your skin.

For a more intense target treatment, you can try a chemical peel but since not everyone has the time or money to get one, try a milder at home version, like the Pixi Beauty Glow Peel Pads. These contain a whopping 20% glycolic acid which really help to target milia, minimize pores, and even out your skin tone.

If you have the time and money though, and your milia just isn’t going away, pay a visit to your dermatologist. “The best and fastest treatment for milia is to the have them extracted by a trusted medical esthetician or your dermatologist,” says Kopp. “Depending on how close to the eyelid margin the milia is it may be best to see an ophthalmologist for removal. We aim for extraction but when that’s not possible light cautery may be effective.”

Bottom Line

You’ll want to use these products on a consistent basis if you want to see results, but these methods will take a bit of time and patience. Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel for milia sufferers and we hope these treatment suggestions will help you to have glowing and smooth skin in no time!

+ What do you think are the best treatments for how to get rid of milia? Let us know in the comments below!

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