Milia – not exactly acne, but it kinda looks like it!

Either way, milia is another unsightly and annoying skin “disagreement” that we would like gone (at least that’s what I gather from those who have been asking me for an article on it!)

I guess I am lucky that I have only ever encountered one milium seed on my own face. So I don’t have a ton of personal experience with milia, but I have done some research to help you get rid of these little guys.

What is Milia?

For those of you don’t know what I’m talking about, milia look like hard white balls – almost like a tiny pearl – that sit just below your skin’s surface. They are most commonly found under and around the eyes, but can also appear any where on the face. They are essentially dead skin cells that get trapped in pockets near the skin’s surface, keratinize, and become hard like a little seed. The difference between them and acne is that they do not grow in a pore. Therefore, they can’t be popped or squeezed out.

How Do I Get Rid of These??

Well, here’s the thing – you could probably just google milia on the internet and every site you come across will tell you the following things. It will say this is what causes milia: 

  • Heavy, rich, pore-clogging skin care products
  • Sun damage
  • Not enough exfoliation
  • Bad genes

and so as prevention, they say avoid these things. Avoid heavy, rich, pore clogging skin care products (I agree with that one). Avoid the sun. Exfoliate more. Sucks to be you with your bad genes.

To get rid of existing milia, they say:

  • Wait it out till the top layer of skin wears away and it escapes
  • Exfoliate
  • Get your dermatologist or beauty therapist to lance them out of your face

Much like acne, the conventional information that circulates on the internet about milia is pretty lame. It’s bland, it’s generic, it probably does work in plenty of cases, but mostly it’s all just fluff coming out of the medical community’s ass.

Sounds like the truth is that no one really knows squat about milia. Including me. And because I haven’t had a lot of milia, I can’t infuse this post with plenty ‘o’ first person wisdom about how I got rid of them (my solution to my one milium was to lance it out of my own face with a pin. Which frankly worked pretty well!)

I did come across one site that was also skeptical about the conventional milia wisdom, and had a different perspective to share. While I can’t personally verify that their suggestions work, it will give you some food for thought if you’ve already tried it all and your milia persists.

From The Health Wyze Report:

It is widely believed that this condition is due to an exfoliation problem, whereby tiny flakes of dead skin clog the skin’s pores. Our research indicates that this is likely only half of the equation.

The other half is an excess of cholesterol in the skin, where the body frequently deposits its excess cholesterol. This in turn, leads us to a third contributing factor, which is a deficiency of sunlight. A body removes its excess cholesterol in the skin using sunlight, which begins a process of converting it into vitamin D3. Sunlight does not cause this condition, as some other health-related sources have claimed, and in fact, sunlight can cure it in some cases.

and their recommendations for treating milia naturally are:

  • Take frequent showers.
  • Exfoliate the skin.
  • Supplementation with niacin is the single most effective treatment for some sufferers.
  • Avoid sunscreens. (when reasonable)
  • Avoid heavy facial cosmetics.
  • Get moderate sunlight exposure frequently.
  • Reduce high cholesterol foods.
  • Supplement with biotin, because many sufferers find that biotin supplementation alone cures their milia.
  • Do not take vitamin D supplements. *
  • CoQ10 is produced by the body during intense exercise, and is found in meat and fish.  It is used by the body to emulsify oils, and to increase energy.  Emulsifiers make oils water soluble (like soap), which assists in their removal, and thus reduces milia.

* The part about avoiding vitamin D supplements may be shocking to some readers, but people with milia are in a special category. Their bodies need to remove excess cholesterol from their skin, and it does this by converting that cholesterol into a form of vitamin D following sunlight exposure.  If these people have excessive vitamin D, then this process will not occur, and the cholesterol build-up in their skin will continue.

So there you go – if you are a long time milia sufferer and none of the conventional recommendations work, then maybe some of these left-of-centre tips will sort them out for you. I wish you the best!

Watch This Article in Video Form


Have you ever had milia? Share with us what you have done to treat and prevent them!

photo by knoxderm