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Milia: causes and treatment

Milia are small, white or yellowish, roundish skin lesions that often appear on the face, especially around the eyes. These tiny cysts, also known as "grains of semolina", are usually harmless, but they can be cosmetically disturbing for many people. 

How do milia develop and what can be done about them?

Blocked pores
Milia often occur when the pores of the skin become clogged. This can happen due to dead skin cells, sebum or dirt particles. Once the pores are clogged, skin cells and sebum can accumulate under the skin and form milia.

Using skin care products that are too rich
The use of skin care products that are too rich or oily and not well absorbed by the skin can favour the formation of milia. These products can block the pores and cause milia.

Injuries to the skin
Traumatic injuries to the skin, such as abrasions or burns, can lead to milia. This happens when the skin produces excessive callus during the healing process.

Genetic predisposition
Some people are more prone to developing milia due to their genetic predisposition.

Treatment of milia

1. Peelings
Light exfoliation with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) or beta hydroxy acids (BHA) can help to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. This can open or prevent clogged pores.

2 Suitable skincare products 
Products containing retinoids, such as retinol or prescription tretinoin, can promote cell renewal and reduce the appearance of milia.

3. Extraction 
A dermatologist or beautician can safely extract milia. However, this should not be attempted at home as it can lead to injury, infection and scarring.

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