White pimples are common on the skin of the face, especially around the eyes. Some people mistake this for pimples. However, their composition is different and they must be treated differently.
We reveal what these “pimples” really are and why trying to get rid of them at home is not a good idea. Remember, if in doubt, always seek the guidance of a professional.
What Are They?
The name may not sound familiar, but the white spots we are talking about are called milia cysts. When they appear in large numbers, they are simply called milia.
These small growths on the skin can appear in people of any ethnicity or age but are especially common in newborn babies.
These cysts appear when keratin (a protein) builds up under the skin (dermis). Most of the time they are white in color, but they can also be yellowish and measure 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter.
In fact, they appear in up to 50% of newborns and are most often found on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. However, they can also appear only on the upper part of the torso and on the baby’s limbs.
These lumps are usually painless, but there are people who may experience redness and irritation of the skin, mainly due to friction between the milia and certain types of rough fabrics.
What Causes Them
In the case of newborns, the exact cause of milia is unknown. Scientists suspect that they may even have been born with them.
On the other hand, in adults it is generally related to some type of previous skin damage, which can be:
- Blister wounds
- Long-term sun damage
- Long-term use of steroid creams
- Procedures such as dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing
- Loss of the skin’s natural exfoliating ability (due to aging)
How To Get Rid Of Them
In most cases, milia are not serious and go away on their own in a few months. As tempting as it may sound, trying to remove them yourself is actually a bad idea.
If you try to pop them by squeezing them, you will be disappointed to find that it does not work and that all you will get is a red, irritated face with the potential for scarring and infection.
Although there is no specific treatment to eliminate milia, there are some things you can do at home that can help prevent them and promote your speedy recovery:
- Clean the affected area daily with a mild soap.
- Use the steam to open your pores.
- Exfoliate your skin 2 to 3 times a week.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure and wear sunscreen.
- Avoid heavy creams or oil-based products.
- Opt for topical retinoids (vitamin A creams or gels).
Although it is not necessary to seek urgent medical attention when they appear, there are some people who prefer to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons.
In these cases, the dermatologist can help by performing a simple procedure, which does not require anesthesia and is performed with a sterile needle.
Other types of treatment are also possible, but you should always discuss your options with a specialist and your doctor.
Have you ever had that kind of pimple? How was your experience? How did you get rid of them?