How to Get Rid of Milia

Three Parts:Home TreatmentUnconventional TreatmentProfessional Medical Treatment

Milia are tiny white bumps that can afflict your skin at any age. They pose no threat to you and are mostly a cosmetic annoyance. Here's what you need to do to get rid of them.

Part 1
Home Treatment

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    Understand what milia are. Milia are small white bumps that form on the face when dead skin cells get trapped beneath the skin's surface, forming small, hard cysts as a result.
    • While milia can occur at any age, it is most commonly seen with infants. Roughly half of all babies experience some form of milia.
    • Nearly all babies and most adults who suffer with milia get them because the skin has not been properly exfoliated.
    • Adults can also experience secondary milia, however, in which burns or rashes cause the skin to blister, thereby damaging the pore lining.
    • Milia will disappear without treatment. In fact, when infants have milia, most doctors will recommend that you do not attempt any special treatment. Merely wash your baby's skin with warm water and pat it dry with a soft towel every day.[1]
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    Keep your face clean. Regular cleansing is an important step in treating milia at any age. A young child should wash their skin once a day, while a teenager or adult should wash their skin twice a day.
    • Use warm water to relax the pores as you clean your face.
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    • Pat your face dry gently using a clean, soft towel.
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    • Teens and adults should always use a facial cleanser. Facial cleansers are not usually recommended for babies and small children unless their faces seem unusually oily. Consider speaking to a doctor to see if you should use a facial cleanser, and if so, which one. If you can't contact a doctor, only use a mild moisturizing soap free of excess fragrances, dyes, or chemicals.
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    Use a good exfoliating product. Teens and adults should treat milia with an exfoliating treatment. You could either go for an exfoliating moisturizer or a targeted exfoliating product.
    • An exfoliating moisturizer is a good idea if your milia is widespread and accompanied by dry skin. The moisturizer will reduce the build up of dead skin cells below your skin and the exfoliating aspect will allow your skin to release the dead cells that have already accumulated. Look for a moisturizer that contains vitamin A. It should also be free of any heavy oils.[2]
    • A targeted exfoliating treatment is best if you have a few milia that you want to get rid of, but otherwise have no skin problems. Choose a targeted treatment containing salicylic acid. The treatment should be applied directly to the milia once daily until they disappear, but check the label to make sure.[3]
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    Apply retinol. Retinol is commonly used to fight acne and signs of aging. It has exfoliating properties that keep your skin soft and clear. For best results, use a targeted retinol lotion and apply it directly to the area of your skin affected by the milia.[4]
    • Apply a pea-sized drop of retinol to the milia-covered area of your face every other night. Wait roughly 30 minutes after you wash your face before using the retinol.
    • Do not apply retinol to the upper eyelid since it can cause irritation and damage if it gets into your eyes.
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    Protect your skin from the sun. Milia can worsen with sun damage. This is especially true if you are suffering from secondary milia, which is caused by blistering. A sunburn can result in the spread or prolonged existence of milia, so cutting down on sun exposure will let you get rid of milia faster.
    • Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. When spending time outside, wear a hat to shade your face.
    • Apply a gentle oil-free sunblock specially formulated for facial care. A heavy, oily sunblock will only clog your pores more, making it harder to exfoliating the trapped dead cells causing the milia. A light sunblock can offer protection from the sun without clogging your pores, though. Look for a light one with a minimum SPF of 15 or above.
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    Avoid heavy cosmetics or creams. You may be tempted to conceal your milia with makeup, but doing so will only prolong their stay. It will also welcome more dirt onto your face, making your milia harder to really get rid of.
    • Cosmetics and heavy creams stay on your skin, blocking your pores. In order to get rid of your milia, you need to be able to exfoliate away dead skin cells. Doing so will be much more difficult if your pores are blocked by makeup, though.
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    Resist the temptation to scratch them away. Milia will disappear on their own in a few weeks and should not cause any discomfort or pain. They will usually crumble and fall off when you don't notice. You may end up causing pain or damage to your skin if you attempt to “pop,” poke, or scrape the milia away on your own.
    • Milia are not pimples, so popping them will not be able to make them go away. The hard cyst lying under your skin will remain there unless a professional can lance it. You are unlikely to have success attempting to do so on your own.
    • You are, however, likely to cause irritation and damage to your skin. You may even create a scar.

Part 2
Unconventional Treatment

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    Try niacin supplements.[5] Niacin, or vitamin B3, is an important nutrient that many diets do not have enough of. It is thought to help maintain multiple systems in your body. Among its benefits, many believe that niacin helps maintain healthy skin and is capable of treating milia.
    • Note that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that niacin can get rid of milia faster.
    • If you do not already take niacin supplements, begin by taking a small dose of 100 mg daily. Do not exceed 1500 mg of niacin daily since large doses have the potential to cause liver damage.
    • Only use pure niacin supplements, since these are less likely to contain harmful toxins or additives.
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    Consider biotin supplements. This co-enzyme and B-complex vitamin is also known as vitamin H.[6] Most people take in enough biotin through diet alone, but if you suspect that you may need more, you can also take it in supplement form.
    • Biotin is thought to have multiple benefits. It supports adequate skin health, which means that it may help your skin to release the milia quicker.
    • Note that there are no scientific studies capable of backing this claim, however.
    • Adults should only take 25 to 35 mcg of biotin a day.
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    Increase your intake of CoQ10. Increasing the amount of CoQ10 your body gets can be done naturally and without the use of supplements. This vitamin is thought to help maintain many of your body's systems and functions and may help improve the health of your skin.
    • Note that there is no scientific evidence to support a direct link between CoQ10 and milia.
    • CoQ10 acts as an emulsifier, so it removes oils from the body. By allowing your body to flush these oils out more easily, it may be able to help the pores blocked with milia to flush out any dead skin cells, as well.
    • Your body produces CoQ10 when you exercise, and the vitamin can also be found in foods like meat and fish.

Part 3
Professional Medical Treatment

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    Talk to a dermatologist. A doctor will usually be hesitant to prescribe medication or medicated ointments for milia since true milia poses no threat and causes no pain. If you have a severe case of milia that will not go away and does not respond to exfoliating treatments, however, a dermatologist may be willing to physically remove the milia from your face.
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    Ask about having the milia lanced. This is the most common method a dermatologist will use to remove milia.
    • The doctor will clean your skin with alcohol or antiseptic to minimize the risk of infection.
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    • A sterile lancet or needle will be inserted into the top layer of skin right next to the milia. The dermatologist will then apply pressure using comedone extractor, causing the milia to pop out of the pore.
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    • When done properly, this treatment will leave no scar and cause no skin damage.
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    Learn about cryotherapy. If the milia is located in a sensitive area, like the eyelid, your dermatologist may consider freezing it first and then removing it.
    • The dermatologist will clean your skin with alcohol or an antiseptic before proceeding.
    • After cleaning your skin, the doctor will use a small wand or tool to freeze the area affected by milia.
    • Once the skin is frozen, the doctor can lance the milia more easily.
    • When done correctly, the treatment will not damage your skin and should not leave any scars.


  • If your baby's face is dotted with milia, it is best to simply leave the little bumps alone and let them disappear on their own. The milia may seem unsightly but it should not cause any discomfort or damage to your child. Moreover, attempting to forcibly scrub away or otherwise physically remove the milia could cause pain and damage to your baby's sensitive skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Exfoliating face wash
  • Retinol
  • Oil-free sunscreen
  • Niacin supplements
  • Biotin supplements
  • Foods high in CoQ10

Article Info

Categories: Health