Saturday, 13 August 2011

Milia - cheat sheet

Stubborn, unsightly and annoyingly hard to get rid of, milia are found in all ages.
Babies (over 50% of them), kids and adults can all be affected. All races. Both sexes.
They don't discriminate. They generally affect the thin skin around the eyes and upper parts of the cheeks in adults.
They are basically a mini cyst. A cyst full of keratin. We like keratin - we need it. Its what gives our skin, hair and nails structure. You just don't want it trapped under your skin and trying to get out.

The important things to remember are:
  • they're NOT spots 
  • they have nothing to do with your pores - they are under your epidermis
  • they're not harmful
  • they're not infectious
  • they're not caused by germs/bacteria
  • you can't get rid of them by taking an antibiotic/the pill
    If you have a lot of them - and if your family also suffer with them - you're probably genetically predisposed to them. If you just get the odd one here and there you probably just need to up the ante on your skincare routine.  

    How do you get rid of them?

    First of all - don't bother trying to pick at it. You're setting yourself up for a whole heap of trouble. Essentially what you are trying to do is pick a hole in your skin. Try that on your arm and see how far you get. Exactly.
    • Get a professional to do it. Phone your nearest salon. Ask them specifically if they remove milia. Double check. Say 'do you physically remove milia?' We're talking manually - no microdermabrasion, no laser - just your therapist, her steady hand and a suitable needle. If they hesitate don't go. Do you WANT someone who's not confident/trained poking around your eye with a needle? Not a lot of salons offer the service - in some councils you're not allowed to 'pierce the skin' in a salon - old legislation relating to sex clubs in city centres (eewww) - not facials.
    • Go see a dermatologist - let them deal with them
    • Have a go yourself. Not recommended - but I know some of you are as stubborn and pig-headed as me and I also recognise you may not be able to afford a facial/don't have a decent therapist near you so I thought it best to address the issue. I can do some of mine near the eye area but I get a pro for the ones on the cheeks - the area is too fat/chubby for me to get a comfortable grip. I've decided against a 'how-to physically remove by yourself' post - I'm not being responsible for someone going at their face with a needle! I will however, answer questions in the comments to help if you are absolutely determined to attack your face.

    How can I help shift them?

    Well to start with you need to get into a routine every day to make your skin work for itself.
    • Keep your skin cleansed - using the BM method - flannels/hot water etc
    • Exfoliate every day - gently - don't go tearing at your skin OR the area - and DO NOT - repeat after me - DO NOT use any of those apricot scrubs you can get for a quid in the chemist. EVER. End. Of. Ideally you need a topical glycolic toner/lotion.
    • Alternate between a toner for acne skin and a hydrating toner. These you can comfortably buy cheaper in the chemist. Toners/lotions are to my mind, essential for controlling milia. The acne one needs an acid in it - the hydrating one needs a glycerin base. The acne toner - used on the area affected by the milia only - will help the surface layers of the skin shift quicker  - the hydrating one will make sure you don't dry your face out at the same time. It takes 2 seconds - don't complain about time taken to take care of your face. It's your face. Acne first/hydrating second.
    • Moisturise them with a NON mineral oil moisturiser (see below)
    • Use a clay mask on the alternate days you don't exfoliate. Just do your nightly cleanse, whack it on the area and go have dinner/watch telly/whatever - remove, tone, moisturise.
    You should find that some of the smaller ones shift themselves anyway doing this.

    Some general guidelines...

    Don't:
    • Use products containing mineral oil or lanolin (ever, regardless) 
    • Use silicone-heavy skincare (it's fine in make-up) - check the label - if anything ending 'cone' is near the top of the ingredients list - avoid. If you have milia it's a little like applying Seche Vite to your face. Ugh.
    • Pick at them with needles - if you don't know what you're doing you'll scar your face
    Do:
    • Use a topical glycolic on the area
    • Exfoliate regularly
    • Moisturise them normally
    • Use good clay masks on the area regularly
    • Get them removed safely by a pro - or ask me next time you see me. :)



      42 comments:

      1. Thanks for this! Have a few of these I want to shift, will treat with due caution & respect!

        Also love the line "It takes 2seconds -don't complain to me about time" So very you!

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      2. Im very prone to Milia, I think I am genetically predisposed actually. How much does it cost to get them removed at a salon Caroline? also I would love some tips please on how to do them myself. Imkinda handy with a needle!

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        Replies
        1. You Can't do it YOURSELF JO!!!! :)

          Should be available as part of a normal facial. Ask when you book.

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      3. Loved this, I suffer badly from them. Will deffo be finding a salon that can remove them, didnt know that you could get that done in salons silly me! Lu xx

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      4. i love these cheat sheets, i think i will just leave mine alone, i only have one and have had it for years, its not a big deal i suppose ... thanks so much :D

        www.missmathful.blogspot.com

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      5. really helpful!
        I get these a LOT on my arms and the odd one on my face. Def genetic as my sister and mother also suffer :(

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      6. I'm a little late on the bandwagon here...Should I just swipe the glycolic toner under the eye area(as far as I know,it's safe to use 2% glycolic acid to exfoliate the undereye)? A lot of clay masks dries after a while,won't this tug on the undereye area?

        Sorry for all the questions/stupidity in advance. :)

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        Replies
        1. Do clay, toner (glycolic etc), then hydration.

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      7. Yes that's fine - don't overdo it though!

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        Replies
        1. What would you say is the maximum % to use under the eyes?

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        2. Anything not prescription should 'technically' be ok.

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      8. What topical glycolic would you reccommend?

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        Replies
        1. Best at a toner stage - P50v/w or Liquid Gold

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        2. Hi! Can you use the Liquid gold on the under eye area? I have mila under my eye bags there not raised but makeup just seems to cling to it and never cover would liquid god help to get rid of them?

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      9. i have the milia mostly in the inside corner by the nose and under the eyes...what is the best way to remove this and hydrate that eye area without having the milia come back...i am 54 and the skin is very thin..if i leave it unhydrated it is very dry looking and crepe looking...and reccomendations for under eye creams and milia removal in older people...thank you

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        Replies
        1. Hi Anon,

          You need an eye cream! :)

          I don't know your budget but you could try Kiehl's Avocado eye cream for starters?

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        2. Hi Caroline, what would be a really good high end cream/serum for keeping milia at bay. I mostly have milia around my eyes.
          Also, where would you recommend I get my milia removed in London?
          Thank you!!



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        3. Get them removed at the Fern Clinic in North London and try Zelens Triple Action Eye Cream - SpaceNK.

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      10. Hi, just popped onto your blog and its awesome, I always trust people that give blunt advice :) I have just realised, reading this and googling 'milia' images that I have lots of milia under and around my eyes. What can I do I help removed them? I don't really want to exfoliate around there (should I?!)

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        Replies
        1. No - you need to get them removed professionally by a good facialist. Ask when you call - 'Do you remove milia?'

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      11. I just discovered this cheat sheet and im kicking myself for not seeing it earlier, I had 2 tried to remove 2 of these ugly things but i've went and scarred my skin 1 under each eye, tried all sorts of home remedies and masks but these f...r scars wont go, plz help?

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      12. I removed some milia for a lady a little while ago. She was very nervous about it because she had tried to remove some herself years before and still had the marks on her face. She was convinced that they were impossible to remove. Not impossible, not even difficult actually, but certainly a job that should be left to a professional.

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      13. I don't know about you but I have noticed I get extra milia if I have not been eating well. I once ate a ton of toast and a stick of butter in one week and the next week I got loads of milia. My dermatologist also thinks that it is the body's inability to process the lipids and your liver is not at the optimum. He is a holisticy dermatologist so always tells me to cleanse the liver.

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        Replies
        1. Definitely! The liver shows up all over the face - if you know what I mean! :)

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      14. Hi Caroline!

        I've got a real problem with my eyes at the moment; they're so almost wrinkled (but not dry) so I assume this is dehydration, have milia and I have terribly red, round patches at the top of my cheeks. I'm looking to get a new eye cream and wonder if there's one you could recommend for under £30 that will tackle the dehydration, fine lines and the milia? I was thinking of Origins Eye Doctor or Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream. Are these good options?

        I also wonder if these patches of red capillaries are treatable with anything in particular?


        Many thanks!!

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      15. I have milia on my eyelids, in the creases. What can I use. Thank you.

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      16. I have milia in the creases of my upper eye lids. What can I use on them. Thanks

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        Replies
        1. I went to my GP when I had milia on my eyelid. He whipped out a needle and took it off there and then! Genius and completely free :)

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      17. How do I know if my moisturizer has mineral oil in it? Do they ever just say "Mineral Oil" or are there specific ingredients I should be looking for that mean it contains mineral oil?

        Thanks!

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      18. Hi, I saw that you "prescribed" either Kiehl's cream eye avocado or Zelens triple action eye cream for people who has milia (like myself) but still want to moisturize the under eye area. What if I can't buy or don't want to buy none of those, what are the ingredients that are not compatible with milia that I should look for when buying an eye cream?? Thanks.

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      19. Hi Caroline,

        I have just watched your video with the Pixiwoo girls and absolutely loved your straight talking. Was so happy to see that you had a cheat sheet on milia on this page as they are my biggest bug bear. I had the fact that I have such an uneven skin surface on my face.

        I struggle with milia - big ones on my cheek bones and little ones under and around my eyes (I have had a go at them before on multiple ocassions - oops!)- but I also have started to get adult acne and really dry skin. It is a really tricky balance to find products that hydrate my skin whilst not contributing to blocking up my pores etc.

        I am trying to get into the habit of using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant becuase it does not seem to dry out my skin but I was just wondering whether an exfoliant this gentle will be good enough to get rid of the milia? I feel like I want something a bit more exfoliating.

        Could you also recommend a cleanser, toner and moisturiser that would be good to buy? I don't care how much - like you say, you only get one face!

        Would be great to have some product recommendations!

        Thanks!

        Emily

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      20. Would you steam the face befor preforming extractiond

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      21. I used to have milia around my eyes as used to use really heavy eye creams. Now I use Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex in the morning and their Age Delay lip and eye cream in the evening. The milia have all gone. The complex contains hibiscus extract which exfoliates around the eye area. Alpha H produce the the most amazing skin care that actually works.

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      22. what can i use to treat milia on my forehead?

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      23. what should i use specifically for milia on my forehead? & are u saying to stop using my apricot scrub?

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      24. Hi my 9 month old baby has milia around her eyes how can I get rid of it my doctor gave me a steroid cream it help a little but it has not healed it all

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        Replies
        1. All babies get milia, no need to try to remove them as they will heal on their own. Only in adults should you take action.

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      25. what's the best eyecream would you recommend to use? thank you

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      26. Hi
        ive had milia spots since i was a child, im not 31 and they have spread and grown in size, doctor wouldnt pay for specialist treatment, (needle) and now my two young daughters have them, so obviously genetic.
        after nagging for a long time a female doctor gave me a strong acne cream but it didnt work
        I live in the uk but dont have a massive budget for facials, whats the best on a budget skincare routine i should use? x

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      27. It is difficult to get a beautician to remove them from the eye area!

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      28. So I am considering a fine sterile needle myself. Since I am going to do it anyway, have you any tips???

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