It’s the pimple you can’t pop,  the bump without an itch. You might recognize them as the little white growths under your eyes that you can’t seem to get rid of.

Here’s what you need to know on the tiny nuisances keeping you from that flawless complexion.

Milia refers to a cluster of small white or yellow cysts that form just underneath the skin, in between the layers of the epidermis. Milia occurs when dead skin cells and keratin get trapped just below the surface of the skin. These bumps can also develop when the skin is damaged by blistering, burns, and the sun.

Although they are not usually painful or itchy,  they could potentially be uncomfortable, especially on sensitive areas like around the eyes or wherever they might rub against clothing.

While most commonly found around the eye area, milia can appear all over the face and body. I’ve seen them on foreheads, noses, eyelids, cheeks, chins, backs, upper arms and torsos. They are very common and can occur on people of all different ethnicities and ages.

For at-home treatments, I recommend using topical retinoids, which are creams or gels derived from vitamin A.  Retinoids are effective because they aid in skin cell turnover, allowing for the cyst to surface. But be careful-- retinoids are powerful, so it is important to make sure you are wearing sunscreen--especially around the eyes where the skin is thinner and more sensitive.

Environ’s C-Quence Serum and Medik8’s Retinol Eye TR specifically for the eye area are 2 great choices.

Milia can be permanently removed with extractions. But do not attempt them at home, because extractions done incorrectly can lead to scarring.

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