Cheat Sheet – Milia

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. It’s 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.

  • 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. You don’t 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 – 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 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 acidic 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…


  • Use products containing mineral oil or lanolin
  • Pick at them with needles – if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll scar your face


  • Use a topical acid on the area
  • Exfoliate regularly
  • Moisturise them normally
  • Use good clay masks on the area regularly
  • Get them removed safely by a pro