If you’ve had children, you’re probably familiar with milia, commonly known as “milk spots.” These are the tiny white bumps that appear on the faces of newborns. But what can be done about milk spots that form in adults?
Primary milia is a condition found in babies, adolescents, and adults. While they are not themselves dangerous or even medically concerning, the condition can be triggered by certain underlying genetic or autoimmune disorders.
The bumps are benign and do not require medical assistance, but aesthetic considerations might cause sufferers to seek treatment. The team at IDI offers a variety of treatment solutions that can help reduce and even clear stubborn spots.
What Are Milia?
Primary milia is a skin condition characterized by small, white, painless cysts on the scalp, face, or torso, though they can develop on other body parts. The cysts are Keratin Deposits trapped just underneath the skin, forming without attendant trauma. It is a condition largely seen in newborns, though it can occur at any age.
Secondary milia develop as a result of injuries to the skin. These injuries might be burns, sunburns, rashes, or blisters. In secondary cases, it is believed that the trauma caused damage to the pores that expel keratin deposits.
In rare cases, milia develop in people with certain genetic abnormalities. These include:
- Gardner’s Syndrome
- Gorlin syndrome
- Pachyonychia congenita
Some autoimmune diseases, such as discoid lupus, are associated with a particular kind of outbreak, known as milia en plaque. This category produces raised plaques in which multiple cysts develop.
Milia can also develop as a reaction to certain ingredients in common cosmetic products. Liquid paraffin, paraffin oil, petroleum, and petrolatum can trigger or worsen flare ups.
The condition can be diagnosed with a visual examination by a qualified dermatologist. In some instances, a skin lesion biopsy might be advisable. However, if you suspect that there could be a medical disorder, such as an autoimmune disease, that has caused an outbreak, you should seek the advice of a primary care physician.
There are several highly effective options for minimizing or removing persistent cysts. These include:
- Chemical Peel
- Laser therapy
- Needle extraction
- Topical retinoids
We have used, for some time, a new method by coloring the milia black with a fine point sharpie and targeting them with the Diolite Laser (a 523 nm Laser). With this technique, it is easy to treat between 50 and 100 milia at a time.
Duration: 20 to 30 minutes. No scarring ensues. Milia resulting from Laser resurfacing can be similarly treated. Before and after photos can be seen on our website.
Topical treatments: Chemical Peels
- Incision and drainage of individual lesions. (Tedious and time-consuming)
- CO2 Laser ablation of individual lesions ( Tedious and time-consuming).
- Diolite Laser (532 nm laser) ablation following black ink application (extremely effective with rapid improvement).
Your dermatologist will determine the most effective course of treatment for you based on your skin condition, skin type, lifestyle, and goals. At IDI, we’re proud to help our patients overcome Challenging Skin Disorders, helping them uncover clear, healthy complexions at any age!