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How to Treat Milia and Rejuvenate your Skin

While performing your daily skincare routine, have you noticed any signs of milia? Maybe you have but never knew what to call this skin condition. Milia, or maybe to you “tiny white pimples”, may be less obvious than acne and blackheads but can be just as concerning. Why do you have them and what caused this sudden appearance, are the questions we’re sure you’re asking. Milia appears as tiny, hard lumps under the skin, and near the under eyes or on the cheeks and is also difficult to remove. We here at Pretty Please know how frustrating a new skincare concern can be, but our Founder Jennifer Rasa has you covered with a detailed explanation of milia, as well as methods and tips you can use to treat and repair your skin.

What Are Milia?

Milia are small cysts filled with keratin, which is a type of protein found in skin tissue, hair, and nail cells. When keratin gets trapped under the skin, tiny white bumps develop, often in small clusters. These small cysts don't become red and inflamed like acne but instead slowly build up under the skin and remain a white color. These are not to be confused with a “whitehead”, as whiteheads contain sebum as opposed to the keratin found in milia.

Milia can appear on people of all ages, it’s not infectious and has no clear cause, but it can be aggravated by sun damage. There are four types of milia - Neonatal milia which affect newborns, primary milia which is the most common form of milia, because it’s found on both children and adults, and typically around the eyes, cheeks or forehead. There’s milia en plaque, which is a less common form of milia and, lastly, secondary milia, which refers to milia that appear after trauma to the skin, such as injury, burn, or blistering. When dealing with milia, it is important to first have a skin analysis with a professional to determine the best method to treat the condition. For today we’re focusing on primary milia as it’s most common in adults and can be found around the eyes, cheeks or forehead.

How To Get Rid Of Milia

While milia will often clear up on its own, if you’re still showing signs, extraction may be the only way to completely clear your skin. There are two effective ways of eliminating milia, extractions from a professional, and exfoliation. Due to milia being so small and covered by the skin, they can be difficult to remove, so the assistance of a trained hand is essential to remove them without damaging your skin further.

Although it can be tempting to remove milia on your own, we strongly advise against any at-home removal sessions, as it can lead to inflammation, infections, and scarring.

Instead, let our Skin Therapists help remove milia over time using noninvasive methods by tailoring the facial to your skin and utilizing advanced exfoliation techniques. Schedule an appointment at our Pretty Please location in the heart of the Flatiron District and one of our Skin Therapists can assist you with a consultation.

For the toughest milia cases, Pretty Please strongly recommends seeing a dermatologist to remove milia. Dermatologists can take a more invasive approach by utilizing needles and lancets.

We will never use a needles or lancets at Pretty Please!

In addition to extractions, exfoliation is essential for preventing milia. Jennifer Rasa would recommend starting with any of our facials. Not only will our Skin Experts use professional procedures to open the pore and smooth away any blockages, but we can also perform a skin analysis and recommend home care products. Exfoliation is also a step you can safely do from the comfort of your home. When choosing products, you want ingredients that help soften the skin and speed up the natural process for milia to pop out on their own.

Our Skin Therapists may recommend a physical or a chemical exfoliant, depending on your skin type. Some exfoliating ingredients you may come across to treat milia include:

Glycolic acid

Lactic acid

Salicylic acid


What Products Should I Use?

Exfoliation can be incorporated into multiple steps of your homecare routine. In addition to professional treatments, we may also recommend using these following steps:


An exfoliating cleanser is ideal for anyone with milia who is also wanting to reduce the look of wrinkles. Using a gentle physical exfoliator, that contains a natural retinol alternative and natural AHA for additional chemical exfoliation is both key ingredients to battle milia.

If chemical exfoliation is preferred or more suitable for your skin type, we would suggest using a facial cleanser with lactic acid to effectively remove dead skin cells without drying the skin out. This type of cleanser is suitable for all skin types and will help to shrink pores and smooth the skin.


Once again adding exfoliating is essential to treating and removing milia. By using a chemical or physical exfoliant, you’re gently smoothing away skin perfections, and it’s also a great prep for extraction by your esthetician. Additionally, this is the perfect home care regimen as it helps unclog pores and polish the skin.

If you have oily skin, use an exfoliator that contains salicylic acid -- this chemical exfoliant will remove dirt from the skin and prevent buildup.

For those who are less oily, we would suggest combining lactic and glycolic acid to improve the look of texture on the skin and to remove dead skin cells. Using lactic and glycolic acid are both suitable for all skin types. Finally, since milia often cluster around the eye, we also recommend using the Naseberry Eye Exfoliant by Eminence Organics. It’s a gentle eye exfoliant, specifically formulated to prevent and clear milia around this delicate area.


And now we get to the part we know everyone loves -- facial masks! There’s something about a facial mask that makes us feel like we’re giving our skin the ultimate treatment of luxury. Those 10-20 minutes can truly work wonders, so please treat your skin to a mask to repair and treat your milia condition. Masking one to three times a week at home will help take your results to the next level.

We know milia can be both frustrating and annoying but with these steps, you can see your glow restored! A daily and weekly regimen of cleansing, exfoliating, masking and, not picking will prep your skin to be repaired and will also make extractions from a professional a breeze. Book your a facial today and come see us in New York City for a professional skin-pampering session.

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