Beat Milia The Medical-Grade Way

If you’ve ever tried to squeeze, pop or dig out a self-diagnosed whitehead only to discover that it just won’t budge, chances are you’ve experienced the ‘joys’ of milia.

Milia, in short, are small, keratin-filled cysts primarily found around the eyes, nose and cheeks. They annoyingly appear at any time and at any age (almost half of newborn babies temporarily have them), but primarily occur when pores get clogged with product or makeup, or when keratin becomes trapped under the surface due to some kind of skin trauma such as a burn or blister. Rosacea and dandruff sufferers can also be plagued with milia more frequently than non-sufferers, but all in all nobody is safe.

More good news: if you are prone to milia (or even a solitary milium, if you will), there is no hard and fast rule for permanently preventing them from rearing their ugly heads. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis will help because sun damage is a known contributor to milia formation, but other than that, what will be, will be. Sorry, but we don’t like to fill you with false promises here at HintMD.

In better news, however, there are various tried, tested and trusted milia destroying tricks out there. Herein, our top three…

1. Try A Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are a great way to deal with persistent milia because they deeply exfoliate the skin, making the milia much easier to remove through professional extraction. This extraction works through creating a small opening in the cyst using a sterile needle or blade. The blocked keratin is then gently pushed out using a comedone extractor. This is NOT to be tried at home in any way, shape or form, but visit your skincare expert and you should see excellent results and rarely any scarring.

We heart: The Perfect Derma Peel and PCA Skin Sensi Peel

2. Invest In A Retinol Night Treatment

A super-easy and very effective way to get rid of milia is to regularly apply a topical retinoid to the affected area.

Retinoids – the broad term for all forms of retinoic acids and retinols – are superheroes when it comes to skincare ingredients, because they offer a whole host of anti-aging and beautifying benefits by stimulating the skin to turn over more efficiently.

Tretinoin is the topical form of retinoic acid and seen as the gold standard of retinoids, but some patients find their skin simply cannot tolerate it. This is where retinol comes in.

Retinol is a precursor of retinoic acid and has to go through two steps before it becomes retinoic acid. As a result of this processing, retinol doesn’t create as many side effects, making it the darling of many anti-aging products.

For retinol to equate the effects of retinoic acid, however, it has to be at a higher concentration and the difficulty with so many over-the-counter brands is that these levels are questionable.

For the best results, speak to your derm or aesthetician about what might work for your milia concerns, because if your milia are around your eyes, for example, a potent retinoid treatment might not be the best choice.

We heart: Alastin Renewal Retinol which comes in two strengths (0.25 percent and 0.5 percent) and ZO Medical Brightenex 1.0% Retinol.

3. Keep Your Skin Clean

Making sure your skin is clean and exfoliated is imperative to keep your skin as smooth as possible and ensure efficient cell turnover. OK, so cleansing and exfoliating alone might not eradicate those bumps entirely, but they’re vital if you want to prevent milia from recurring after opting for one of the above treatments.

For a clinically-proven, effective deep cleanse, we recommend trying a medical-grade product containing an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid. AHAs are naturally-occurring, water-soluble substances extracted from fruit or milk sugars to help exfoliate the top layer of your skin. They’re seen as absolute darlings of the exfoliating world. Case closed.

We heart: Jan Marini Skin Health Bioglycolic Face Cleanser and SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser.