What Is Milia? (Plus My Top Tips To Get Rid Of It!)



I recently found the biggest babe of a holiday makeup pallet at the drugstore and after stammering over it for ages (I haven’t used drugstore makeup in years) I popped it in my basket and prepared for runway model status.  It was the NYX City Set in Dublin (cue the bagpipes of my homeland) and the colors were nothing short of perfection for my ginger tone.

Flash forward to post-Irish Goddess Day full of complements, and my face had taken a turn for the worse.  Now, I’m not saying my skin is like butter, but it is generally smooth and free from blemishes.  I noticed bumps on my eyelids and around my eyebrows first.  Clear ones that felt more like a rough patch of skin.  I ignored it.  This gal is too busy to worry about a small area of eyelid bumps.  I kept using the makeup each day and slowly noticed over about three total days that my entire face had produced them.  I was one large, rough, kitchen sink cleaning Brillo pad of a Staci face.

I had to think back in my routine to figure out what was causing this.  It had only been a few days and the makeup was the only item I had changed.  The other products had been in my arsenal for months, and some, years.  The makeup was the only new addition.  But the writing was as rough as the 60-grit sandpaper on my forehead….My new ginger-loving makeup pallet dream and I were going to have to break up.  It’s not me, it’s you.  No really…it’s you.

–WARNING: Very Scary Pictures Ahead–




Milia On Forehead



Milia are small, clear or white cysts that appear on skin as a result of either skin cells or keratin that is trapped under the skin.  This forms a tiny, superficial bump. It is different from a pimple, as acne is related to oil and bacteria and milia is not.  I find, for me, they can be felt more than they can be seen.  While they can be expressed (popped, if you will) it is best to leave them be and try some options I am about to share with you.  Although I am a nurse and usually take medical things into my own hands, I still tell people to not do like I do, and to go see a doctor if you have one that you think needs serious attention.  The last thing you want is an infection on top of your bump dilemma.


Check out this recipe for my yummy turmeric latte!



Treatment Options For Milia:

Since milia is caused by keratin getting trapped under the skin, exfoliation is your new best friend.  You can do this by either physical or chemical exfoliation.  I like to use a gentle chemical exfoliator daily and physical exfoliater with a scrub or mask 1-2 times per week.  Any more than that and I have acne flair-ups from too much activity. The ol’ face doesn’t like all that attention lol.

Chemical Exfoliators:

This list usually is made up of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) like lactic or glycolic and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid.  If you’re into a super-natural lifestyle, they even make these from fruit extract enzymes.

My number one all-time grand slam hitter is the ExfoliKate daily cleanser by Kate Sommerville.  It contains lactic acid, which is so gentle on the skin, yet eats away at any dead skin cells leaving my face smoooooth the next day.  Tip:  Wash your face (Yes it even cuts through your makeup!) and leave on 30-seconds before rinsing.  Tip 2:  Use this as your shaving cream for the silkiest legs you can’t stop touching!

Physical Exfoliators:

Of course, you can always use your trusty washcloth but I feel I get a better treatment with a Clairasonic.  I can’t use it every single day (Say hello to my friend, Rosacea!) but I do use it a few times per week with my cleanser.  You can also use scrubs that can contain gritty textures like sugar, salt, or ground nuts that buff away the outer most layer of the skin and keep clogging at a minimum.  Be easy on your face skin.  It’s not like that pan you’ve been soaking for hours because the baked chicken you cooked just. will. not. scrub. off.  It’s an organ (and your largest one!) so be gentle with it.

My fave scrub goes between Dr. Brandt Microdermabraison Age Defying Exfoliator and ExfoliKate by Kate Sommerville.  I received the one by Dr. Brandt in a FabFitFun box and love it because it physically scrubs with so many of the tiniest little aluminum oxide crystal spheres and I feel like there’s a personal scrubber for every square inch of my face.  It, too, has lactic acid, but I don’t feel it works as good as the lactic acid in ExfoliKate.  ExfoliKate contains papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes, as well as lactic acid.  It has ultra-tiny scrubbers so you get a total package cleansing deal.  Scrub then leave it on for 1- minute like a mask.  I think my fave part, though, is that it has cinnamon and honey that make it smell like the holidays.  It gives your skin that tingle and works it’s butt off to deliver results.


Extra Tips:

The other thing I have been doing is my 1-2 time per week retinol.  Retinol stimulates your skin’s cell turnover so it can help repair itself.  It can also diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  You need to layer moisturizer or an oil over retinol to seal it in for your skin to accept it’s full effects.  I enjoy using Luna by Sunday Riley and Layering my Josie Maran Face Butter on top.  Luna is an oil in itself but I need that extra oomph to be working while I sleep.

What are your fave face products?  Use the links in the post or the product carousel to try some of these for yourself and don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!



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For complete transparency, the products in this post were paid for with my own money and the reviews, thoughts, and opinions are 100% my own.  I will never post products in a positive light if that is not my true viewpoint. Some clickable links may direct to affiliate sites where I receive a very small financial compensation.  These links require no purchase from you.