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White Bumps On Face? Expert Explains The Reasons And How To Get Rid Of It

 If you have small white bumps on your face, you may be experiencing milia. They are harmless and often go without treatment.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: May 24, 2023 15:50 IST
White Bumps On Face? Expert Explains The Reasons And How To Get Rid Of It

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Imagine waking up one morning, ready to start your day, only to find small, pearly white bumps scattered across your face. If you are wondering what it is, you may have encountered a skin condition known as milia. There is often confusion between milia and acne, but unlike acne, it does not cause inflammation or swelling. Dr Ipshita Johri, MBBS, Dermatology and Aesthetic Consultant and Laser Specialist, Founder, Skinfinity Derma, explained this condition and how to get rid of it.

What Is Milia?

Dr Johri explained that milia are a skin condition that leads to small harmless white bumps that look like giant whiteheads. But they are actually pockets of dead skin accumulation under the surface of the skin. They are also known as milk spots and are usually 1-2 mm in size. The most common place to find them is on your face, around your eyelids, or cheeks. While milia can affect people of all ages, they are most commonly seen in newborns, often resolving on their own within a few weeks. However, milia can also occur in adults and persist for a more extended period, requiring intervention to treat them.

Also Read: From Heat Rashes To Acne: Expert Lists 6 Ayurvedic Foods To Detox Your Skin In Summer

Types Of Milia

Dr Johri said that there are several types of milia that exist. Some of them are as follows:

Primary Milia

Primary milia appear at the entrapped keratin which appears on newborn babies or adults. 

Secondary Milia 

Secondary milia are similar in terms of look but the cause is due to the blockage of ducts, like after an injury, burn, or blistering. 

Juvenile Milia

Juvenile milia are cysts that are an indication of an inherited disease. These can exist from birth or develop later in life.

Neonatal Milia

Neonatal milia, present at birth, is a condition that affects infants and causes white cysts to grow on their skin. It is most commonly found on or around their noses. 

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Treatment Of Milia

Dr Johri said that treatment for milia is not really necessary because they are harmless and go away on their own. However, there are some measures that you can take to get rid of this condition: 

  • Dr Johri said you can apply over-the-counter adapalene gel or prescribed tretinoin cream.
  • It can be removed surgically as well by using a needle to puncture it and squeeze out all its content.
  • It can also be removed with the help of cryotherapy which involves freezing the milia on your skin using liquid nitrogen and then removing them.
  • You can also use medicated creams and antibiotics
  • Exfoliating your skin by using cosmetics with salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, and retinoids can also help in removing dead skin cells. 
  • You should clean the affected area regularly using mild soap to avoid skin irritation.
  • You can open the pores using steam or can sit in a bathroom and run a hot shower. 
  • Radiofrequency laser is one of the quickest cures for milia. This treatment involves using extreme heat to destroy cysts.


Dr Johir concluded, "Picking the skin around milia or popping it can make the condition worse and cause complications. The skin around it can lead to scarring and infection. To prevent milia, people should make sunscreen and moisturiser a regular part of their skincare, as milia tend to happen when there is too much exposure to the sun and the skin becomes leathery, making it harder for the dead cells to fall off. It can also be prevented by exfoliating the skin at least 2-3 times a week."


The information in this article is provided by a registered medical practitioner. However, we recommend you consult your healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and treatment as per your skin type.