A milium cyst is a small, white bump that generally appears around the nose and cheeks, but sometimes around your arms and hands. These cysts are often found in multiple cysts, called milia. These bumps are common and can fortunately be treated with over-the-counter products.
As with acne, milia should not be popped or picked. Removing by popping them can spread the germs to surrounding areas and cause them to scar and infect.
How are they formed?
Milia forms when keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin and as a result of the skin's inability to exfoliate naturally. Keratin is a structural protein that makes up the skin’s outer layers. It supports the skin cells against physical stressors. Combined with elastin and collagen, keratin forms the epidermis barrier that protects against inflammation and irritation.
Use products that encourage exfoliation and turnover, such as retinol and glycolic acid. Those with sensitive skin or those who have never used retinol or glycolic acid should test before application because these ingredients can be irritating and drying. Salicylic acid can also be helpful in removing milia.
What to avoid?
Comedogenic products may contribute to milia, so use products that are non-comedogenic (non-clogging). Milia is also linked to sun damage so use sunscreen.