No one likes to have cysts on their body (especially the face) and I can attest to this because I have had a couple on my face and a few on my body over the years.
Although cysts aren’t usually harmful or indicate some scary disease (I suppose anything is possible though), most of us would prefer to have them removed.
Today we are going to talk about a very specific kind of cyst called Milia.
Milia are small cysts that are actually little pockets formed from your top skin layer called the epidermis. They look like pinpoint hard white cysts, sometimes with a blackhead like opening to the skin surface. When a person has a lot of them the skin takes on a cobbled appearance.
Usually, only babies get them, but it’s not unheard of when adults get them as well.
The white material in a milium (single for milia) is made up of cells from the dead skin layer called the stratum corneum. Unlike a sebaceous cyst (also called an epidermal inclusion cyst), milia do not form from a pore; they are just a pocket of normal skin that somehow indented, sealed over and the dead cells got trapped.
Milia usually form spontaneously, not for any reason that we ever figure out. They usually occur on the face, but I’ve seen them on the neck, scalp, chest, back and even the back of the hands.
Interestingly the changes in the skin that happen from years of chronic sun damage seem to promote milia formation for predisposed people. Milia also tend to occur after a rash or skin injury. Rosacea and facial dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) are rashes that can cause milia to form.
So are the rashes of allergic reactions and irritation from harsh products.
This is why we have come up with three safer ways to help remove the small skin cysts:
This method includes using the comedone extractor to take the milia out through the small opening. If using this method, it’s important to be very gentle. After you’ve made a tiny opening on the cyst, pull it out with tweezers. Finish with your regular skincare routine.
For this method you need a sharp needle, very pointed tweezers because flat-ended tweezers won’t do, and/or a comedone extractor. Start by cleaning your face thoroughly with some gentle and water-soluble cleanser and a washcloth or a cleaning brush.
Wash it off with lukewarm water then dry your skin completely before starting the milia extraction process. Be cautious to disinfect the needle, tweezers, and comedone extractor with alcohol before you start in order to prevent possible infections.
Use the needle or the tweezers to make the teeniest tear in skin on top of milia or right next to it very gently. In that way, you’ll have enough access for removing the milia.