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All About Milia: Those Tiny White Bumps Under Your Skin

All About Milia: Those Tiny White Bumps Under Your Skin

Have you ever noticed small, white bumps on your face that seem to pop up out of nowhere and refuse to budge no matter how many times you wash your face or *gasp* try to pop them? Say hello to milia, your skin’s quirky little residents.

What Are Milia Spots?

Milia, often confused with whiteheads, are small cysts filled with keratin (a protein that your skin produces), or dead skin cells. The little bumps form under the surface of your skin and can be white or yellowish. Sometimes called ‘milk spots’ they can appear anywhere on your body, but are most commonly found around and under your eyes. 

Here at Woohoo, we like the analogy that Milia is like a pearl. A little white bump that starts deep down, and left to their own devices, they eventually come to the surface of your skin and disappear. But this can take years (literally!). And this process slows down as we age because skin cell turnover slows.

What Causes Milia?

Milia often start with either an excess amount of keratin or dead skin cells accumulating and getting trapped in pores. New, healthy skin can grow right over the top, trapping the build-up inside. If this build-up doesn’t clear on its own, it can turn into a small cyst called 'primary milia’. 

Additionally, things like too much sun, blisters, long-term use of steroid creams (or *any* kind of skin damage really!) can also lead to milia. Using heavy skincare products might worsen the situation by clogging pores and trapping more dead skin cells. And sometimes, milia just comes down to plain old genetics.

How to Treat Milia

While milia aren’t harmful, they can be a bit of a cosmetic bother. Here’s how you might coax them away, or at least stop new ones from forming—but whatever you do please do not pop them or try to remove them yourself!!

Exfoliate—But Gently

Regular exfoliation can help prevent dead skin build-up that leads to milia. Opt for gentle exfoliants like our This Is Me Enzyme Exfoliating Mask or Spoonful Of Sugar Exfoliating Scrub. Just be extra careful when exfoliating under the delicate eye area.

'This Is Me' Enzyme Exfoliating Mask

$38.95
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Actives to the Rescue

Some actives (like Vitamin A and Retinols) can increase cell turnover and help clear up milia over time. We recommend the Make My Day Bio-Retinol Gel Cream or FG Serum 02 for similar retinol-like results over time.

'FG' Serum 02 - Clear (blemishes + acne)

$64.95
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Keep Your Skin Clean

Use a gentle cleanser to keep your skin free of excess oils and debris that might contribute to milia formation. Try our much-loved Cloud 9 Deep Cleansing Balm, mixing it with water to make a light emulsion and removing residue with a Konjac sponge or soft cloth. Use a pink clay mask (like the Pig In Mud Mineral Mask) weekly to help draw milia to the surface and prevent the formation of new milia. 

'Pig-In-Mud' Mineral Mask

$27.95
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Moisturise Wisely

Keeping your skin hydrated helps maintain its natural barrier and reduces the risk of skin cells becoming trapped. Choose non-comedogenic moisturisers that hydrate your skin without clogging your pores. Try our 'Day + Night Delights' Natural Moisturiser Duo for oodles of nourishment, minus the bumps.

Consider Lifestyle Adjustments

Reducing intake of cholesterol-rich foods, avoiding heavy, oil-based makeup, and protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure can all help in preventing milia.

Sun Protection Is Key

Protecting your skin from sun damage can prevent the type of skin trauma that leads to milia. Wear a non-comedogenic sunscreen daily, even when it’s cloudy.

When to See a Professional

If milia are persistent or bothersome, it might be time to visit a dermatologist. They can perform procedures like de-roofing, where the milia are carefully extracted using a comedone extractor, lancing tool, or sterile needle (ouchies!).

By understanding what causes these little bumps and how to care for your skin properly, you'll be on your way to a smoother, glowier complexion in no time. Seeya later, milia. It’s been fun.

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