WHAT IS MILIA?
Dr Jaya Sharma
Hrbr layout, Bengaluru Feb 10, 2018
Milia or milium cyst are tiny, white bumps that usually appear across the nose, chin or cheeks. Sometimes they can even form on the upper trunk and limbs. Milia are most common in new-borns and infants but can occur in adults at times as well.
TYPES OF MILIA
Milia are usually dome shaped and white or yellow in appearance. They do not itch or cause any kind of pain. However, they may cause discomfort for some people in terms of appearance. There are various types of milia and can be classified based on the age at which they occur or the injury that causes the cysts to develop.
- NEONATAL MILIA
This type of milia is generally seen in new-borns and heals within a few weeks, mostly on its own. Cysts are typically seen on the face, scalp, and upper torso. Almost 40 percent of babies develop milia.
- JUVENILE MILIA
This form of milia is caused by genetic disorders, such as:
- Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
- Pachyonychia congenita
- Gardner syndrome
- Bazex-Dupré-Christol syndrome
- PRIMARY MILIA
This condition is seen in adults and children, caused by keratin trapped beneath the skin surface. Cysts are located around the eyelids, forehead and on the genitalia. Cysts may disappear in a few weeks or last for several months.
- MULTIPLE ERUPTIVE MILIA
This consists of itchy areas, appearing on the face, upper arms and torso. The cysts often appear over a period of time, and last from a few weeks to a few months.
- TRAUMATIC MILIA
Injury to the skin such as severe sunburns and rashes can cause this condition. The cysts may become irritated and appear red along the edges and white in the center.
The reason behind milia in new-borns is not known and is often mistaken for baby acne, which is triggered by hormones from the mother. Unlike baby acne, milia doesn’t cause inflammation (swelling). Infants with milia are generally born with it while baby acne occurs after a few weeks post birth. In adults, it usually occurs due to sun damage or some form of injury to the skin.
The doctor will examine your skin and based on the appearance of the cysts will determine the presence of milia.
You can’t prevent milia and generally you don’t need treatment. The cysts disappear on their own in a few weeks or months. Some medications may be prescribed to reduce the appearance of cysts.
Milia is not a harmful condition and does not cause any long term problems. The cysts usually disappear on their own but it is advisable to consult a doctor both in case of infant and adult milia to rule out other skin conditions.