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How Is Milia Diagnosed?

Milia is a condition which refers to small bumps that typically appear on nose and cheeks. These are often seen in newborns and infants. However, they can affect people of any age and sex.[1]

How Is Milia Diagnosed?

How Is Milia Diagnosed?

Milia can be diagnosed easily by a child’s doctor on physical examination. There are no specific tests needed to diagnose milia. A skin biopsy is needed only on rare occasions, like suspecting another harmful skin condition.

Neonatal milia-

  • This type is seen in newborns and goes away on its own within a few weeks
  • Neonatal milia affects typically the face, scalp and the upper part of the baby
  • Primary milia in older children and grownups
  • The cysts form around the eyelids, forehead and on the genitals in this type of milia
  • These disappear usually in a few weeks or may last up to months[2]

Juvenile milia-

Some rare genetic skin disorders are the cause of this type of milia. The disorders may include-

  • Bazex-Dupre-Christol syndrome- this syndrome affects the hair growth and the skin’s function of sweating[3]
  • Gardener’s syndrome- this is a rare genetic disorder and is known to lead to colon cancer over a period pf time[4]
  • Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome – also known as NBCCS, this can lead to basal cell carcinoma[5]
  • Pachyonychia congenital- this condition leads to abnormally shaped or thick nails[6]

Milia en plaque-

  • Autoimmune or genetic skin disorders are linked to this type of milia
  • Conditions like lichen planus or discoid lupus come under this category
  • The ears, eyelids, cheeks or jaw may be affected in this type of milia
  • The cysts as big as several centimeters in diameter can be seen in this type
  • Children or grown-ups of any age and sex can be affected by this type of milia[7]

However, they are primarily seen in women of middle-age

Multiple eruptive milia-

  • The face, upper arms and the body get affected by areas that itch in this type of milia
  • The cysts tend to develop over a period of time, from a few weeks to a few months[8]

Traumatic milia-

  • These cysts occur at the site of injury to the skin
  • Rashes, burns etc. can be reasons for the injury
  • The cysts may get irritated and become white in the center and red at the margins

Milia related to drugs or products-

  • It is seen as a result of using steroid creams or similar products, though it is quite rare
  • Contents like liquid paraffin, liquid petroleum, paraffin oil etc. may cause milia of this type[9]

Treatment Of Milia

Milia occurring in newborns and infants usually go away on its own within a few days or weeks. It does not require any treatment.

Milia occurring in older children and grown-ups will usually go away within a few weeks or months on its own

However, if they are causing a discomfort, there are several strategies to take care of them-

  • Deroofing- in this technique, the contents of the cysts are picked by a sterile needle
  • Cryotherapy- in this method, the milia are frozen with the help of liquid nitrogen. This is the most commonly used method of treatment in milia
  • Chemical peels- with the use of chemical peels, the first layer of the skin is peeled off and the new skin is exposed
  • Topical retinoids- these usually come in the form of vitamin a cream. These are used to exfoliate the skin.
  • Laser ablation- in this method the cysts are removed by focusing laser on the affected areas
  • Destruction curettage- in this method the cysts are removed or scraped surgically and then cauterized
  • Diathermy- in this method extreme heat is used to destroy the cysts

The milia cysts cannot be prevented. And there is no treatment required to cure milia, as they usually disappear on their own usually within a few weeks or months at the most.[10]


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 14, 2022

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