What are these firm white bumps that look like tiny cysts or pearls that just won’t go away? These harmless, yet unattractive bumps are called milia.
Similar to a pimple, a milium cyst is essentially a clogged sweat gland. A pimple is a clogged oil gland that is filled with pus, blood, and bacteria. Unlike a pimple, milia form when the sweat glands are obstructed with excess keratin, dead skin, and a small amount of pus. The keratin is responsible for giving this cyst it’s hard, dense texture.
This is a genetic condition and often shows in infants and then occurs off and on throughout their adult life. It can also be caused by skin injury e.g., burns, sunburns, cuts, dermabrasion and rashes that form blisters. As a burn heals, it covers the sweat duct and the duct fills up with keratin and pus.
Estheticians can dissolve milia with topical treatments such as enzymes and professional peels, including salicylic, glycolic and lactic acid. For those prone to sun-induced milia, regular exfoliation helps prevent the buildup of dead skin that can clog sweat glands and lead to milia formation.
Enzymes are effective exfoliants and can be gentler than other methods like scrubs and microdermabrasion. The upper layer of your skin is mostly made of dead skin cells containing keratin protein. The enzymes work by specifically breaking down the keratin protein, resulting in smoother skin.
Professional peels can be done in a series (every 4-5 weeks) to treat milia and benefit other skin concerns at the same time, for example hyperpigmentation, old acne scars and fine line reduction.
Doctors can prick, slice and squeeze (semi surgical technique) or offer topical treatments such as, hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, 5 fluorouracil with tretinoin.
Add the Brighten-up Bar to your daily routine to reduce the chance of build up on your skin. It contains lactic acid, a gentle exfoliant to keep your pores clear, along with brighteners to reduce the effects of old acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Use it once or twice a day as your regular cleanser. Additionally, you may lather up as often as you like and leave it on your skin as a mask for 5 minutes.