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 into a extra widespread pores and skin drawback as you become old. 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 Bailey, I’m 59 yrs outdated and susceptible to milia.  I even have delicate pores and skin, rosacea, and just lately seborrheic dermatitis (facial dandruff).  Would you please clarify what causes milia, and one of the simplest ways to stop them?

I believe 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 prior 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 shaped out of your high skin-layer referred to as the dermis. They appear like pinpoint-hard white cysts, typically with a blackhead-like opening to the pores and skin floor.  When an individual has lots 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 useless pores and skin layer referred to as the stratum corneum. 

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

Milia should not clogged pores. They’re only a pocket of regular pores and skin that one way or the other indented, sealed over, and the useless cells bought 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 palms.
  • The adjustments in pores and skin that happen attributable to years of persistent solar injury appear to advertise milia-formation for predisposed individuals. 
  • Milia additionally are inclined to happen after a rash or pores and skin damage. 
  • 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.

One of the best ways to stop milia is through the use of a retinol cream

prevent milia with retinol

Retinol helps loosen useless cells in order that they do not get trapped and type a milium. You want a robust retinol night time cream to combat milia akin 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 also be confirmed to combat the mobile adjustments of pores and skin growing old, and these may also result in milia.

How do you deal with and forestall milia?

Nothing completely prevents milia from forming if you happen to’re susceptible to them.

Skincare merchandise that assist to stop milia

What’s milia extraction?

Milia extraction is a process carried out within the dermatology workplace that’s drastically 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 stop 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 useless pores and skin might be gently extracted utilizing a instrument referred to as a comedone extractor. A comedone extractor is identical instrument 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 chance of infections.
  • Additionally, the puncture and subsequent strain with the comedone extractor creates a small wound, and as with all 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 at all times do a recent literature search. There may be nonetheless no scientific proof linking milia and sunscreen use. We all know that sun-damaged pores and skin is susceptible to milia and so I really 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 necessary for stopping the pores and skin solar injury 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 threat of being a “milia former” since sun-damaged pores and skin is susceptible 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 glad to use every day as a part of your morning skincare routine.

The most well-liked facial sunscreens in my dermatology apply to stop facial solar injury that 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 necessary position in uniquely additionally blocking seen and digital blue mild from coming into pores and skin the place it could possibly trigger damaging free radicals and darken pigment pores and skin issues akin to melasma and age spots. Each males and lady love this product, it is ultimate for shiny complexions because of the matte base and it is an amazing 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 also be waterproof, making it excellent 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 perfect technique 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 physician/affected person relationship with Dr. Bailey. The knowledge offered by Dr. Bailey is common 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 current sufferers of her apply). By no means ignore your personal physician’s recommendation due to one thing you learn right here; this data is for common informational objective solely.

Creator: Dr. Cynthia Bailey M.D. is a Board Licensed dermatologist training dermatology since 1987. She has carried out properly 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 earth.


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