Treating lumps, bumps and ……….. milia!

Can you recommend a treatment for milia? These white lumps get under my skin and cause really nasty sores. They can sometimes take months to heal. I get them generally on my cheeks.

Okay, most of you know that milia are a plug (like a comedone or acne plug) in a pore but then it hardens and gets stuck. They don’t generally become sore unless you pick at them! If you pick at them, you will transfer (unless you are very careful) bacteria from your hands to your face which will often infect the picked area. Then, the spot won’t heal properly and may scar.


Since these are difficult to remove on your own, the best way is to have an experienced aesthetician (check to make sure the aesthetician is trained to do extractions) or your dermatologist’s office remove them for you using a couple of special tools. It’s much less traumatic and works better than picking. There is also a very rare condition where calcium can harden under the skin causing a white deposit. The only way to diagnose that is to have a small biopsy done.


Since part of my job is to nag you! Please don’t self diagnose, if you’re not sure ask your doctor, especially if a spot is changing or growing. White bumps can also be caused by acne by a plug in the pore (whitehead), milia (a pimple that hardens and gets stuck), overgrown oil gland (sebaceous hyperplasia), and a number of other things including some types of skin cancer.


Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Read Dr. Irwin’s article on Moles, Lumps, and Bumps.


Learn How to Find a Good Dermatologist.


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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