It has a white tip, but it's not a whitehead. It's bumpy, but it's not a pimple. And it's been on your face for a couple of weeks now, without showing any signs it will disappear anytime soon. What's going on?
These hard little bumps, which have a clear preference for your undereye area, are called milia seeds. They can happen to anyone (even babies!) at any time. And, once they make an appearance, getting them to leave isn't so easy. They are incredibly stubborn and can hang around for months on end. That's why prevention is the best cure. But, what if it's too late for that and they've already taken a comfortable seat under your eyes? Not all hope is lost.
Here's the best way to get rid of milia seeds and keep them from coming back again:
What Are Milia Seeds?
You get milia seeds when skin cells get trapped under the surface of your skin. Your natural exfoliating process somehow went wrong and wasn't able to get rid of these cells, which are now forming little clumps on your face. The main culprits? The usual suspects: too much unprotected sun exposure, moisturizers and sunscreens that are way too rich for your skin type and lack of exfoliation.
How Can You Tell Milia Seeds From Acne?
Milia seeds look a lot like acne. But, if you've ever tried to squeeze them, you've learned the hard way that won't have any effect on those little bumps. None at all. They are much too hard to be squeezed out. That's the first sign you're not dealing with acne. The second? They can show up anywhere on your body, even where there isn't an active sebaceous gland in sight. The final proof? Milia seeds are painless. They don't become red. They don't swell. They don't hurt.
How NOT To Get Rid Of Milia Seeds
Milia seeds are NOT acne. Treating them like acne won't make them go away. It'll just irritate your skin. So, no poking, squeezing or scraping skin. Stay away from acne spot treatments and anything that contains benzoyl peroxide. This powerful acne-fighter is powerless against these stubborn seeds.
How To Get Rid Of Milia Seeds
If you're lucky, they may disappear just like they've come: on their own. But, be warned: they take their very sweet time to do that.
What if you wait and wait and nothing happens? Or if you're just impatient and can't be bothered to wait for them to say goodbye? Exfoliation is your BFF. A good exfoliant smoothes everything out: it shrinks the appearance of large pores, makes fine lines and wrinkles look smaller and levels out bumpy patches.
Salicylic acid (BHA) and Glycolic acid (AHA) are the best acids for the job. Unlike scrubs, they dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together so they can slough off, providing even exfoliation all over. One solitary session probably won't be enough. They are stubborn, remember? But, if after several weeks, those white bumps are still there, it's time to bring in the big guns and book an appointment with your dermatologist who can physically remove them.
How To Prevent Milia Seeds
So, you've finally been able to get rid of these stubborn little bumps. But, how can you keep them from making another unwanted appearance on your skin? A gentle skincare routine is key here:
- Exfoliate: two or three times a week, use an exfoliant with glycolic acid or salicylic acid to keep your skin smooth and bright.
- Go lightweight: if you're prone to milia seeds, opt for creams, lotions and sunscreens with lightweight textures that sink immediately into your skin. Some products, such as our Complete Eye Cream, are specifically formulated for those who are prone to millia.
- Don't forget SPF: UV rays can cause all kinds of problems, from premature wrinkles to milia. Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen as soon as you get up in the morning and keep reapplying it throughout the day.
There you go. Now these little white bumps have no more secrets for you. Next time they show up, you'll know how to kick them out for good!