What Are Milia?
Milia are a collection of small white spots commonly known as milk spots. Though common among young babies, they can occur in adults and become permanent. While they aren't a medical risk, many people with milia would prefer to remove them, which is possible with clinic treatment.
Because they are traditionally associated with babies (and usually fade away within a few weeks of birth), milia can cause confusion with adults. They are often mistaken for whiteheads, which can cause ill-advised attempts to scratch or squeeze them.
In fact milia are tiny cysts that are located immediately below the epidermis, the very outer layer of skin, making their distinctive colouring so visible. The white comes from an excess build-up of keratin, which is natural part of the skin, also found in nails and hair.
Doctors don't know why milia come about in adults: unlike some skin conditions they don't seem to be related to diet, lifestyle or health issues.
The most common type of milia removal is performed using a needle. Once the skin with milia has been cleaned, a sterile needle is then used to create an tiny incision in the skin covering the cyst and the contents of the milia are carefully extracted so as not to cause any trauma to the skin.
Certain types of milia may not be suitable for this type of removal, and may need to be treated using a hyfrecator. A hyfrecator works to cauterize the skin covering the milia by using tiny electrical pulses then allowing the contents to be extracted.
In other cases it may be more suitable to be prescribed a topical medication to treat the milia, but this is only for certain types of milia.
The best treatment for you will depend upon the type of milia you have as well as the location and number of milia that need removing. It's likely you will be advised at your consultation to prepare your skin before treatment by using a non-abrasive exfoliating cleanser and vitamin A product on a regular basis. These products will soften the skin that covers the milia, making it easier to remove and can also help prevent further milia developing.