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Milia, which are also known as milk spots or oil seeds, are tiny, white, unsightly bumps that tend to congregate under the eyes, on the eyelids, around the nose, or around the lips. Although they may look a bit like whiteheads, they are actually keratin-filled cysts that are formed when skin cells become trapped under the epidermis. You can be genetically cursed with milia, or simply develop them as your skin ages. The most common cause of milia is from using heavy skin care products that contain comedogenic ingredients, which can prevent the sloughing and shedding of dead skin cells. Prolonged sun exposure damages skin as well, increasing your risk of forming a thick epidermis and impeding cells from making their way out of the glands. The most frequent cause of milia around the mouth is the result of flouride irritation from toothpaste.
The easiest way to prevent milia from forming is to use cosmetics, creams, make-up removers and hair products labeled oil-free or non-comedogenic, which run the lowest risk of clogging pores and trapping protein beneath the epidermis. Astara Blue Flame Oil Free is a great daily moisturizer that also contains the wonderful free radical scavenger, spin trap), Murad’s Oil Free SPF 15 Sunblock with Sheer Tint offers extra protection from the sun, and Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Night Cream is an inexpensive oil-free option for heavy-duty moisturizing. Kinerase Lip Treatment is an AHA-free exfoliating formula that also accelerates cell renewal. Other suggestions include limiting toothpaste residue from lingering around your lips, and refraining from rubbing your eyes vigorously and irritating the sensitive skin. And of course, limiting your sun exposure!
Regular exfoliation also combats milia, although aggressive exfoliation can actually traumatize skin and cause the bumps to appear. And no amount of scrubbing will remove or cure a case of milia if it has already formed! Both the Body Shop's Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator and Stem Organic's Smooth Skin Exfoliant are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin, like the area around the eyes, but are effective at sloughing away the dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to milia. Vitamin A creams are effective exfoliator alternatives thanks to their retinol content. Arcona Vitamin A Complex Repair is a good option.
If you've already developed these lovely little bumps, what can you do about them? The best course of action is to head to your dermatologist's office, or make an appointment with your aesthetician. A number of treatments, including microdermabrasion, fruit acid peels, or glycolic acid peels may take care of the problem. If the milia are persistent, the doctor may use a needle and comodone extractor to remove each individual bump, like surgical pimple popping (Source).
This does not necessarily mean that it is as simple as popping a pimple and that you should tackle your milia yourself. Milia may look like white heads, and it may sound simple to take care of them in the comfort of your own bathroom. However, it is important to remember that they exist under a layer of skin, unlike pimples which have risen to the surface. Prevention is the best course of action against milia, and treatment is best left in the hands of a trusted professional.
Ingredients in Astara: (Aqua) Distilled Water, Aloe Vera Leaf (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Vegetable Glycerine, D-Cholic Acid, L-Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Totara Tree (Totarol) Extract, (PBN) Spin Trap, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil.
Ingredients in Kinerase: Water, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ergothioneine, Hyaluronic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Oil, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glucosamine HCL, Glyceryl Stearate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Kinetin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Papain, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Potassium Acesulfame, Sorbitan Isostearate.
Ingredients in Stem: Organic Aloe Extract, Bamboo Extract, Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Gylceryl Monostearate, Coco Glucoside (vegetable), Organic Jojoba Oil, Guar Gum, Tasmanian Kelp Extract, Kakadu Plum Extract, Organic Prunica Granatum (Pomegranate), D-alpha Tocopherol (Vit E), Willowbark Extract, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (amino acid based preservative), Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Tangerine Essential Oil, Organic Geranium Essential Oil, Limonene (occuring in essential oils), Bottle Brush Bush Essence, Organic Lemon Essential Oil, Citric Acid.