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How to treat milia | ellé derm


What is Milia?

Milia cysts are tiny white bumps under the skin that does not cause itching or inflammation and is usually asymptomatic. They are just not aesthetically desired. Milia occur when keratin (a protein found in hair, skin and nails) is trapped under the skin and can occur in babies and adults.


The cause for milia in babies (also known as "milk bumps") is unknown and it usually goes away without treatment within a few weeks. Milia in adults usually do not go away on its own and will require treatment or extraction in severe cases.

how to treat milia 

How to get rid of milia using drug store products

Milia don’t have an opening onto the skin’s surface, which is why they cannot be removed with a simple squeeze or pop like a pimple. Attempting to pop them can lead to red and inflamed marks on the skin.

If you are prone to milia, we recommend using a cream containing a Retinoid, Azelaic Acid in addition with a Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid face wash. Salicylic Acid is lipophilic molecule and can dive deep into the skin to unclog pores and prevent build up of oil whilst Glycolic Acid and Retinoids promote skin cell turnover. 

All these ingredients can easily be found at your local drug store or beauty counter. They are usually marketed for anti-aging and acne but will also assist for the management of milia. 

The management of milia, like melasma, can take some time to resolve so patience is vital. Allow four to eight weeks for treatment response. 

Physical extraction by a derm or aesthetician is required in stubborn and severe cases. 


Product recommendation:

  1. Neutrogena Acne Face Wash contains 2% Salicylic Acid 
  2. ellé derm Skin Renewal Face Wash with 15% Glycolic Acid 
  3. ellé derm Retinamide CE Nocté Regenériste with 1% Retinaldehyde  
  4. Médicii Salicylic Acid Face Cleanser with 2% Salicylic Acid
  5. La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Eye Cream with 0.1% Retinol and 0.2% Caffeine


Author: Helen Lam (B. Pharm) MPS

Pharmacist and cosmetic formulator for ellé derm

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