Milia are very small, raised, pearly-white or yellowish bumps on the skin. They are most often seen on the skin around the cheeks, nose, eyes and eyelids, forehead and chest. However, they can occur anywhere on the body. Milia are very common in new-born babies but can affect people of any age. In babies, milia clear by themselves and no treatment is needed. In other people, they may take longer to clear. In persistent cases, treatment may be suggested. The cysts occur when keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Keratin is a strong protein that is typically found in skin tissues, hair, and nail cells.
What causes Milia?
In older children and adults, milia are typically associated with some type of damage to the skin, such as:
- blistering due to a skin condition
- blistering injuries, such as poison ivy
- skin resurfacing procedures, such as dermabrasion or laser resurfacing
- long-term use of steroid creams
- long-term sun damage
- ageing and dehydrated skin
How are Milium/Milia removed?
The most common type of milia removal is performed using a needle. Once the skin with milia has been cleaned, a sterile needle is then used to create a tiny incision in the skin covering the cyst. The contents of the milia are then carefully extracted so as not to cause any trauma to the skin.
Some types of milia may be more suitable for removal using a Hyfrecator. A Hyfrecator uses tiny electrical pulses to cauterize the skin covering the milia, allowing the contents to then be extracted.
In other cases, you may be prescribed a topical medication to treat the milia, but this is only for certain types of milia.
Who is suitable for treatment?
Anyone who suffers from milia whether it’s just a single one or many, regardless of size.
Contra-indications to treatment include:
- Hepatitis B (highly infectious, virus not easily destroyed)
- Blood disorders (Haemophilia)
- Heart conditions, especially when taking blood thinners such as warfarin.
- High blood pressure (can only treat when controlled or lowered)
- Skin diseases and allergies (fungus infections, broken skin, active eczema or psoriasis)
- Diabetic (skin is slower to heal)
- Sun burn
- Anti-coagulant drugs
- Pregnancy (some disorders arise during pregnancy but can disappear after birth)
- Keloid scarring (after injury there may be overgrowth of skin. Further keloids may develop after treatment).
- General ill health (this can affect skin healing time)
How does it feel to have Milium removed?
There will be a mild sensation similar to a stinging nettle on the skin when the Milia is cauterised. This sensation may remain for a few minutes after the procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, we can use a local anaesthetic before the treatment, so the treatment should be pain-free or cause very minimal pain in most cases.
Are there any side effects/downtime after treatment?
The area will look like mosquito bites after treatment, the skin will have been irritated due to contents of the milia being squeezed out. There will also be redness which can take a few days to completely reside. Although unlikely there is a possibility that scabs may form in the treated area; this will heal completely in 10 days.
How many treatments are needed?
In most cases 1 treatment is sufficient to remove the milia. If there are large numbers of milia present you may need several sessions to clear the area. If more treatment is needed, an interval of 2 weeks is advised between treatments to ensure skin healing.
Consultation Required? Yes, with Doctor
Consultation Cost? £200