Milia is is a somewhat under-the-radar skin condition that manifests itself in the form of small, hard bumps, usually under the eyes or the cheeks. I developed one under my left eye last year and had to do some major research on how to get rid of it. Given that I’m a borderline hypochondriac, my initial thoughts naturally lead me to scour WebMD (my best friend and worst enemy) in order to self-diagnose myself with what I was sure to be something more serious than a benign bump. After ruling out that the bump was the result of something harmful, my next best guess was that it was a skin tag of sorts.
After hours of research, I came to the conclusion that the annoying little bump was something called Milia (also commonly referred to as “milk spots”), a harmless cyst-like bump that forms as a result of excess keratin buildup that becomes hardened under the skin’s surface. There are two different types of milia; primary and secondary, and each one can be caused by an array of different factors, including lifestyle and hygiene habits to skin trauma caused by lasers, chemical peels, and other more aggressive beauty procedures. Generally, milia form as a result of dead skin buildup that isn’t able to be properly removed, hence forming into a hardened, often whitish cyst. While they’re not serious, they are in fact rather unsightly, and unfortunately fuller-coverage concealers and setting powders seem to highlight their unwanted presence rather than concealing them.
It took me several months, but I am happy to report that I was indeed able to get rid of the unsightly bump on my own and without the help of a dermatologist or esthetician. With the help of a few key products, patience, and due diligence, the under-eye bump is finally gone. Keep reading to find out some of the products I used to help self-treat milia, and what I use to prevent it from making a comeback later down the road.
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1. The Face Shop Rice Water Double Cleansing Set
Double cleansing is a step to ensure that all of your makeup, oils and dead skin cells don’t clog pores, and this gentle duo is ideal for removing impurities without over-drying.
2. Paula's Choice Skin-Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Using an acid-based toner, like this BHA (salicylic acid) formula will help promote expulsion of the pores and remove keratin and sebum buildup from turning into bumps. Because acid toners do tend to be irritating on the skin, you’ll want to do this step every other day.
3. La Roche-Posay Ultra Fine Facial Scrub For Sensitive Skin
While chemical exfoliants are the best method, using a fine scrub can also help to open up the pores as well. I love this scrub because it’s gentle and non-abrasive so it won’t damage or tear the skin. While I’ve never been one to use a physical scrub to exfoliate (especially under the eyes), I honestly believe that using something with a bit more grit really did help expedite the removal process — just don’t overdo it.
4. InstaNatural Retinol Serum
Retinol is practically the all-encompassing miracle ingredient that’s backed by ample research and dermatologist approvals because it actually works. Like chemical exfoliants, retinol speeds up cell turnover, helping to slough away dead skin, which is why it’s a critical step if you’re trying to get rid of milia.