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Milia

MILIA

What is Milia?

Mila are minute pimple-like formations, called papules seen just under the surface of the skin composed of hard, whitish, keratinous material. They occur in babies and are generally called milk spots. Milia is harmless, but can be a cosmetic concern among adults.

How might it affect me?

What are the symptoms of Milia?

Milia are usually painless and symptom-free. The lesions may rarely be itchy. Milia appear as firm, white papules and are widespread. Primary milia occur mostly on the face, especially on the cheeks and nose and around the eyelids. In rare cases they can occur on the genitalia. Secondary milia occur at the site of trauma.

What causes Milia?

Neonatal milia affects about 40 to 50% of babies and is due to blocked (occluded) vellus hair follicles which can be resolve quickly. Secondary milia may occur due to some form of deeper injury to the skin. The cause of primary milia is not known. It may be attributed to genetic predisposition and actinic or sun. The appearance of the cysts may differ for different types of milia.
Other rare form of milia is milia en plaque where the cysts appear within a thick layer of plaque around ears, cheeks, jaw and eyelids. Eruptive milia can create lesions which can be itchy and affect face, upper arms and upper trunk.

Who is at risk of Milia?

Neonatal milia can affect babies of any gender and race. Primary milia is more common in adults while, secondary milia occur in people who have experienced some form of trauma to the skin or any inflammatory skin condition.

How is it treated?

Milia in babies normally resolves on its own. Amongst adults each millium is de-roofed with a hypodermic needle and the cystic lesion is extracted out. Fine-wire hyfrecation which uses a fine tip needle to either deliver an electric current or radiofrequency is also an effective treatment. Ablative lasers such as the Erbium-Yag or CO2 laser are also used to treat milia.