What is it?
The milium are small white, bright and hard papules of 1-3 mm that usually appear around the eyes, eyelids and cheeks. They are accumulations of keratin, a skin protein, that form in the hair follicle when it’s retained at the mouth of the pilosebaceous glands. They are benign, they do not pose any health problem, just an aesthetic discomfort.
Who does it affect?
It can affect both newborns as children, adolescents and adults.
This condition is usually asymptomatic. It doesn’t imply any alteration of health nor is it contagious. Although it causes discomfort at the aesthetic level since it usually appears in visible areas (face).
The cause that causes the appearance of milium cysts is currently unknown but it’s known that there are skins that have more tendency than others and that there are certain factors like genetic predisposition, solar overexposure, the tendency to have acne or smoking that favor their appearance. They usually appear spontaneously.
In the case of newborns are believed to appear as a consequence of the immatureity of the sebaceous follicles.
Very rarely they can be associated with certain diseases of the skin like the Bazex-Dupre-Christol, Rombo or Gardner syndrome.
Milium cysts of newborns disappear on their own within a few weeks, so no treatment is necessary.
As we have said before, it isn’t necessary to eliminate them since they have no medical transcendence. However, are usually removed for aesthetic discomfort.
Ideally, the treatment should be done in a dermatologist’s office and avoid tightening or cleaning the skin to eliminate them.
There are different techniques in eliminating milium cysts:
- Overture and drainage: is performed by puncture with a needle, scalpel or lancet. The disadvantage of using this technique is that the capsule where the keratin is retained isn’t removed, so the milium can reappear in the same place. In areas near the eye it isn’t easy to perform this technique, since it isn’t easy to exert the necessary pressure to eliminate the content.
- CO2 laser: using this technique, the cyst is removed immediately and definitively as the capsule is evaporated without leaving a scar. It’s most suitable for removing milium cysts in sensitive areas, such as the eyelids.
To avoid the appearance of milium in the future and also reduce the appearance of premature signs of skin aging, it’s advised:
- Use sunscreens
- Apply an antiaging cream containing retinol (derived from vitamin A).
- Regular performance of chemical peels