Milia, commonly referred to as “milk spots,” is the technical term for small, hard, white bumps that show up on the skin — most commonly on the face. These bumps are typically found on newborns, but they can affect anyone, including infants, teens and adults. Milium cysts occur when keratin — a protein typically found in skin tissues, hair and nail cells – becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin.
What Causes It?
Milia occurs in about 40% of newborn babies, and the exact cause is unknown. There are two forms of milia: primary and secondary. Primary is the type seen in babies, while secondary milia is seen in older children and adults, and is typically associated with some type of skin damage that leads to blistering which damages the pore lining. Skin irritations that can cause milia include:
- Blistering due to a skin condition
- Blistering injuries, such as poison ivy
- Skin resurfacing procedures, such as dermabrasion or laser resurfacing
- Long-term use of steroid creams
- Long-term sun damage
How Is It Treated?
There is no treatment for infant milia. The cysts usually clear up within a few weeks. In older children and adults, it may take months to clear up. Treatment options from a physician include medications, chemical peel, laser ablation, cryotherapy and diathermy. Milia isn’t a health concern, but it can cause discomfort and self-esteem issues for some. If you’re currently dealing with this skin condition and you’re looking for a more natural way to reduce the appearance of milia, you’ll want to check out these 8 natural remedies:
1. Sugar Lemon Juice Scrub
Lemons have amazing antibacterial and antioxidant properties that act as a natural skin care remedy. The sugar creates an exfoliating agent. To make this scrub, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with juice from 1/2 a lemon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Gently scrub your face with the mixture, leave it on for about 15-20 minutes, then wash it off.
2. Cornstarch and Apple Cider Vinegar
Cornstarch can help absorb excess oil from the skin. When combined with apple cider vinegar, ( click here for International products ) it becomes a remedy to remove unwanted milk spots. Simply combine the two ingredients to make an astringent paste, then apply it to the affected areas. Leave it on for about 25 minutes, then rinse.
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used to treat conditions like constipation, asthma and bladder infections. It has natural healing and antibacterial properties that can help control the skin’s oil production. Mix equal parts castor oil and olive oil, then apply the mask onto your face. Leave it on until the oils are completely absorbed, then wash it off.
Steam is a natural way to get rid of toxins in the skin. Steaming your face can promote better blood circulation, help unclog your pores and remove dead skin cells. Run a towel under hot water, then squeeze out excess water. Gently press the towel on your face for a couple of minutes, then remove.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can be a soothing solution for milia, working as a natural disinfectant for the skin. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help clear the skin of any infections. Wash your face, then apply tea tree oil to the areas with milk spots. Leave the solution on overnight to help dry out the spots, and rinse thoroughly in the morning.
6. Pomegranate Peel Powder
Roasted pomegranate peel powder boasts strong antioxidant and exfoliating properties. To use, roast several pomegranate peels until they’re brown. Then, crush them into a fine powder. You can add some lemon juice if you’d like. Apply the mask to your face and let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse it off.
7. Fenugreek Leaves
Fenugreek leaves are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. As a remedy for milia, grind a handful of fresh fenugreek leaves with water. Spread the paste onto your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes, then rinse.
8. Raw Honey
Honey will help to rejuvenate your skin by replenishing it with moisture and preventing dryness. Combine raw honey with sugar to make a scrub, then use it to help exfoliate the top layer of your skin. Rinse thoroughly after exfoliating.