What are the small white bumps around my eyes? Here's what causes milia

What are the small white bumps around my eyes? Here's what causes milia

I don't know about you, but I've often wondered about those small white bumps around my eyes. It's something that affects many of us, but no one is ever quite sure what they are.

Tiny white bumps on our skin are a common occurrence and, no, I'm not talking about the ones that ooze pus and blood.

small white bumps around my eyes Credit: Pexels

What are the small white bumps around my eyes?

These bumps are called "milia" and often pop up around our eyes and on our cheeks.

Dr. Ross Perry, from Skin Surgery & Laser Clinic, stresses that they shouldn't be confused with acne or whiteheads.

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"Milia are medically known as 'milium cysts'," he says. "And it is important to understand that they are a tiny form of cyst rather than whiteheads, which they are sometimes confused with."

But why do we get milia? Well, the condition occurs when our sweat glands become filled with oil and keratin.

"[The bumps can become] quite hard and prominent and although they may pass away eventually, they could last for years. There is also a risk of inflammation if they’re left untreated," Perry warns.

There are ways to treat milia

However, it's not all bad news.

If you're looking for a way to treat milia, Perry says that laser offers the most effective form of treatment. Not only does it destroy the cysts, but it also stimulates healing and cell renewal, making your skin appear healthier.

Other medical treatments include microcautery, or micro-needling to incise and remove the milia.

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While these treatments may sound intimidating, exfoliation treatments such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion can also be very helpful.

"These work by stripping away the outer surface and clearing blocked pores for fresher skin. Exfoliation also stimulates cell renewal for clearer, healthier skin," Perry explains.

Certain treatments should only be carried out by professionals

While it may be tempting to address the issue of milia in your home, Perry emphasises that the above treatments should all be carried out in a skin clinic by trained professionals.

But, if you are looking for a home method, a topical retinoid would be your best choice. However, as Perry explains, the recommended strengths aren't available without a prescription, so you make sure you see a doctor first.

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He adds: "I would advise against trying to purchase something on the internet, as there is a risk of scarring from inappropriate treatment. It is important to have the skin viewed by a doctor specialised in skin conditions in order to work out the best treatment plan."

Exfoliating and using sunscreen are key

There are multiple different ways of preventing milia. And regular exfoliation and sunscreen are just two ways to protect your skin from it.

Remember, when you're using sunscreen, make sure you apply at least SPF 20 when doing day-to-day activities, and SPF 50 when on holiday or playing sport outside.

On top of this, adding targeted facemasks to your beauty routine is recommended. Using a mask 4-5 times a week can help battle milia, and you should alternate them.

If you want something more holistic, look to your diet, as almonds and almonds oil are rich in vitamins, minerals.

Additionally, antioxidants and have many healthy properties to them, such as being anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting, and they can even help to cleanse the liver.

So, if you spot milia popping up, don't go about trying to squeeze it - it won't work. Instead, keep your beauty regime updated, and always protect yourself from the sun. It really is that simple.