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What Is The Best Medicine For Milia?

Milia are tiny non-inflammatory growths on the skin. They are formed due to trapping of keratin protein under the skin. They represent themselves as a small white bump on the skin of face, nose, and cheeks or around the lips. They appear when the skin fails to exfoliate. The other causes are burns, sunburn, blisters, steroid application, and many more. They are more commonly seen in neonates and children. They appear and disappear by themselves without any treatment. When they cause cosmetic issues, it needs medical intervention.[1]

What Is The Best Medicine For Milia?

What Is The Best Medicine For Milia?

Milia are common pearly white heads found in the skin. They are non-inflammatory bumps that develop mostly on the skin of nose, cheeks, face and around the lips. They can develop anywhere in the body.[2] They develop in neonates since their birth. They also affect older children and adults. They are often confused with acne but they are non-inflammatory in nature, they do not cause redness, itching or swelling on the skin.[3]

Milia develop due to deposition of keratin under the skin. Keratin is a protein found in skin, hair, and nails. They can also be caused by sunburn, burns, blisters, steroid injections, etc.[4]

The best thing about milia is that they disappear by themselves without any treatment in a few weeks or few months. They go relatively at a faster rate in infants than older children and adults.[5] In rare cases, they may cause discomfort and cosmetic issues, they may need treatment.

Leave It Alone– milia is a tiny cyst that contains keratinized dead cells trapped under the surface of the skin. They are not like acne. They should not be squeezed out like acne. The little bump is just like a grain of sand. Milia does not have an opening through which plugged dead cells can come out. So, squeezing them can damage the skin but milia cannot be extracted out. The best medicine of milia is to leave them alone as they settle down by themselves.[6]

Using Chemical Exfoliating Agent– milia develop under the skin when the skin loses its ability to exfoliate. So, an exfoliating agent can treat them. These agents are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and Differin.[7] Milia can take few months to go as they are stubborn.

Topical Retinoids– retinoids are vitamin A cream that dermatologist recommends its topical application on the affected skin. Retinoids promote exfoliation of the skin, it prevents the accumulation of keratin under the skin.[8] It also helps in the loosening of the keratin and promotes its removal.

Manual Removal By Experts– if it causes specific cosmetic issues with the skin, it is better to be removed. The best way to treat them is their manual extraction. But, it should be done by professional by modern techniques. These are-

  • Removal of cysts by a sterilized needle. This is called deroofing.
  • Application of liquid nitrogen to freeze the milia. This is called cryotherapy.
  • Chemical removal of the first layer of skin to expose new skin
  • Removal of cyst by laser
  • Application of heat on the cyst (diathermy)
  • Surgical scrapping of the cyst with a tool called comedone extractor.[9]

Milia Symptoms

  • They have white or yellow heads.
  • They do not cause itching or pain in most of the cases.
  • In some cases, discomfort is experienced.
  • They do not cause any swelling or redness.
  • On rubbing with rough sheets or clothes on Milia can render irritation or redness.[10]

They typically appear on the face, eyelids, nose, cheeks, and lips. However, they can also develop on other parts of the body as well even on genital parts.


Milia have deposited keratin dead cells under the skin. The best medicine of Milia is to leave them as they tend to resolve by themselves in a few weeks. Another way to treat Milia is manual extraction of the bump by professionals.


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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:September 16, 2022

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