Milia are cysts that often form in groups on the nose, cheeks, forehead and eyelids. They appear as white bumps and are common in newborns but usually clear up within a few weeks. Older children and adults can develop Milia, which are caused by the skin tissue protein keratin becoming trapped beneath the surface of the skin.
In newborns, it is often mistaken as baby acne but research has shown that babies are born with Milia whereas acne occurs post-birth. The causes of Milia in older children and adults are associated with skin damage such as blistering, burns, rashes, long-term sun damage. These dome-shaped bumps, usually white or yellow, are not normally painful but can become irritated or reddened with contact to clothing or bedsheets.
The Milia normally disappears in a few weeks but treatments can be applied to more persistent outbreaks and patients are advised to see a dermatologist if the condition does not clear up. They use a range of minor procedures and medications to restore the skin to normal.
De-roofing, or using a sterile needle to pick out the contents of the cyst, is a standard procedure along with laser ablation, which uses a small laser to destroy the cyst. Diathermy, the use of electrically induced heat, is effective at clearing cysts. Experts also employ destruction curettage, which involves surgical scrapping and cauterization, and cryotherapy, which freezes the cyst. Demabrasion, to remove the top layers of the affected skin can also be considered. The procedures are fast, painless and are done as out-patient treatments. Medications, such as topical creams, and chemical peels can also be used.