Those Hard, Whitish Pimples You’re Picking on Aren’t Whiteheads


You know those g tiny whitish bumps that grow on your face that you can’t seem to extract? but They are actually called milia and not whiteheads.

Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, a dermatology clinical instructor at the Weill Cornell Medical College, sheds light on this unique class of pimple. According to Nussbaum, milia is often confuses with whitehead because they are both white, but they are entirely different class of pimples.

Spotting a milia

Milia contains hardened keratin, making it difficult to extract.

Accumulated sebum and dead skin cells result to these hard lumps of keratin. Milia appears round and white whatever your skin color is.

Milia commonly grows in the area surrounding the eyes, but it can also grow in the cheeks and nose. It is not inflamed like acne.               

Roots of Milia

The most common cause of milia is improper cleansing. Dr. Nussbaum recommends washing your skin twice daily with a lightweight moisturizer that is water-based to remove makeup residues and other impurities from the skin. If you have dry skin and prefer to use rich and heavy creams on their skin, make sure your eye cream does not contain oil.

According to celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, smoking is also seen as a cause of milia, so it’s another reason to quit the habit.

Treatments for Milia

  1. Exfoliate regularly

    Clear out dead skin cells by using products that contain alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and regulate sebum production with products that contain salicylic acid.
    Introduce the products to your skin gradually to avoid irritating your skin. Start by using a low potency-potency product once to twice a week, then move on to higher-potency product once your skin has adjusted to the ingredient. Make sure to apply the product delicately around your eyes.
  2. Use retinol

    Dr. Nussbaum says retinol is effective in the prevention and treatment of milia because they speed up the turnover of skin cells. Remember not to use the ingredient on your upper eyelids to avoid irritation. Retinol is unsafe to use for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.
  3. See your skin doctor

    It’s a skincare sin to extract milia by yourself. Doing so will only cause more damage to your skin, like scarring. Seek the help of a skincare professional to extract your milia with a needle or electrodessication.