How To Prevent and Treat Milia Seeds

by beautifulwithbrains
how to prevent, treat and remove milia seeds

What the heck are those tiny those white bumps around your eyes?!

They’re white, but they’re not whiteheads. They’re too small to be pimples. And it doesn’t look like your skin is irritated either… What’s going on?

Milia seeds. Or white bumps on your eyelids, as we all like to call them. They’re common but super hard to treat. Prevention is key here.

But if it’s too late for that, don’t fret. You can still treat milia once they rear their ugly heads.

Here’s all you need to know to prevent and treat milia seeds:

What Are Milia Seeds?

Milia seeds form when skin cells get trapped under the skin’s surface. They look like white bumps, and often appear around the eye area (but they can pop up all over your face, just to annoy you). Blame them on:

  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • Lack of exfoliation
  • Moisturizers and sunscreens that are too rich for your skin type

How To Prevent Milia Seeds

Now that you know what causes milia seeds, you can easily prevent them. Here’s how:

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid: What It Is, Why It Helps And Where To Find It

How To Remove And Treat Milia Seeds

Prevention is all well and good, but what can you do if you already got white bumps on your lids?

The safest way to treat milia seeds is to see a dermatologist. She’ll be able to remove them safely and quickly.

What about homemade treatments? I heard some people get rid of them at home with the help of a needle, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Milia often appear near the eyes, and, unless you have a super steady hand, popping them yourself could be quite dangerous!

Even if you are absolutely confident you can do it, it may not work. Once milia seeds have hardened, removing them is a tough job that’s best left to the professionals.

The Bottom Line

Exfoliate, wear sunscreen and stick to light lotions: that’s how you prevent and treat milia seeds. But if you already have them, go to a derm. Better to be safe than sorry!

What do you do to prevent, remove and treat milia seeds? Share your tips in the comments below.

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58 comments

Dao April 14, 2009 - 3:45 pm

I have milia around my eyes but exfoliation seems to help. If the eye cream is too rich, a seed will definitely sprout.

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suz April 14, 2009 - 7:18 pm

thank u! i’ve had these my whole life but never knew what they were til i was an adult. they weren’t “whiteheads” or “blackheads” and no matter what i did, they never went away. mine are trapped below the surface and no amount of exfoliation would get rid of em. i tried to squeeze them out and sometimes that’d work but the milia is way bigger than the pore and so it was nearly impossible. i did try the needle thing too– it works but it hurts. the skin is so delicate and u basically have to create an artificial hole and squeeze the thing out.

definitely recommend seeing a dermatologist. altho, most eye creams tend to be rich anyway, so i don’t see how u can avoid that. the other thing i’m trying is aveda exfoliant (liquid toner/glycolic acid) to keep my pores clean. but it’s hard when u use creme de la mer or other rich creams (esp in winter)

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Jnie April 14, 2009 - 8:19 pm

Exfoliating helps for me although sometimes they disappear by themselves. Thankfully, I don’t get them that often.

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Danielle April 14, 2009 - 9:03 pm

I think I might actually be getting some on my neck, of all places! I don’t exfoliate that area nearly enough. I’ll see if exfoliating more often will help.

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beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2009 - 2:31 pm

Dao: if the milia seeds are new and not hardened too much, exfoliation will remove them, but it takes a lot of time.

Suz: I’m sory to hear you have this problem. I think exfoliation helps only if milia are new. But if it is already hardened, consulting a dermatologist is the better thing to do. The needle thing sounds painful and, if one is as clumsy as me, dangerous. I know it’s hard to avoid richer creams, esp in the winter, but if don’t apply them around the eye area, you should hopefully be fine. As for the eye cream, you just need to experiment until you find one that is light enough and works well for you. But I know that finding good skincare product isn’t that easy.

Jnie: lucky you! I never heard of them disappearing but glad they do for you.

Danielle: The neck is such a neglected area. I’m guilty of not taking care enough of it in the winter when I usually war those halterneck sweaters. If the milia seeds are new, exfoliating should help, but it will take a while.

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Danielle April 15, 2009 - 6:45 pm

The ones on my neck have mostly gone away with exfoliation. Do you have any experience of getting rid of small, soft bumps around the eye area? I have some where I have undereye circles. They’re about the size of milia seeds, but they’re soft and I’m afraid of exfoliating them because the skin is so thin there. Any ideas? I’ve heard some women refer to them as “chicken skin”

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beautifulwithbrains April 17, 2009 - 8:25 am

I’m sorry to hear you have chicken skin. Personally I’ve never had it but as far as I know there is no cure for it. There are treatments available but you need to be consistent or the condition will reapper. One option is to exfoliate with a loofa and dermatologists recommended mild exfolaiting products that contain AHA, like glycolic acid. Products with Retin-A would help too. But for a better diagnosis and proper treatment II recommend consulting a dermatologist.

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prettybeautiful April 20, 2009 - 11:15 am

🙁 🙁 🙁 i have several milia seeds under my eye, due to some moisturizing eye cream some years ago. i didnt know then! bah 🙁 now i cant do anything abt it unless i visit a dermatologist, i dont know if i can handle the pain of removing so i just do not bother abt it now

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beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2009 - 7:38 pm

pettybeautiful, that’s too bad! Removing milia can be painful and also very expensive. I’ve heard more dermatologists charge about $100 to do it! But unfortunately it’s the only way to get rid of them once they’ve hardened.. 🙁

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Ella May 9, 2009 - 3:30 am

A good home ingredient that can get rid of milia is aspirin.. i recently discovered that the tiny raised bump i have n partso f my face are called milia.. so i made a desperate search and found that solution to come up in places.. so i tried it,.

Apparently aspirin masks work good after a while (like 15 mins 2-3 times a week) but i was impatient so i did an aspirin mask then rinsed.. then took an aspirin tablet and wet the edge SLIGHTLY (cos it dissolves quick) n rubbed it on areas where i had the milia (which took AGES cos there are quite few lol). But i could see it working!.. little balls came out or would come onto the aspirin.
However don’t do it on whiteheads or spots – it will not have the same affect and only irritate that part… but as far as milia is concerned it improved it… i’m planning on continuing till it goes.. but i’m givin my skin a little break from all the rubbin.

Anyway i hope this helps someone!

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beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2009 - 6:54 pm

Hi Ella, thanks for sharing. I’m glad aspirin worked for you and hopefully it’ll help others too.

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Amber May 3, 2010 - 1:48 pm

Hi ELLA!!
I tried your trick and it works!!! It has cleard up some of my milia, i will keep doing it a few times a week. Thank you so much, sometimes i look at my face and all i can see are those white dots!!
It does leave the area you rubbed a little red, but i put a little eye cream over it!

anyways hope this works for everyone out there, has anyone else tried??

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beautifulwithbrains May 4, 2010 - 10:57 am

Hi Amber, I’m so glad that Ella tip worked so well for you. 🙂

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Chill September 2, 2010 - 1:13 am

I also have milia under my eyes, I didn’t knew it was milia at first then I found this site (Coz im searching for solutions he he!). I think its already 4 months since I have this and I’m getting very frustrated because it doesn’t disappear. I suspect its because of my eye cream clogging my pores. I’m afraid to pick it with needle because its soft, very small my skin under my eyes is very thin. Do you think diamond peel can remove this milia?

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beautifulwithbrains September 2, 2010 - 4:55 pm

Chill, I feel any peel and exfoliator can help when milia have just appeared, but once it’s hardened (and I think after four months it’s probably hardened), the best thing to do is visit a dermatology to have it removed. You can try exfoliating first, but usually it takes time and you have to do it several times. But after a few months, I’m not sure how well it’ll work. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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pk October 1, 2010 - 9:26 am

hey,if i get them removed from a doctor ,they will come back or not(milia),if thet will then wats the way 2 get them rid permanentally

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beautifulwithbrains October 1, 2010 - 7:38 pm

Pk, milia back could come back even if you have them removed by a doctor. But you can prevent them by exfoliating regularly and avoiding too thick and greasy creams in the eye area.

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tracy October 20, 2010 - 8:31 pm

HOw do you make the aspirin mask?

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beautifulwithbrains October 20, 2010 - 8:48 pm

Tracy, it is very easy. My friend Connie wrote a blog post about it, here’s the link: http://www.skindeco.net/2008/11/monday-is-aspirin-mask-day.html Hope this helps.

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Violet February 5, 2011 - 2:55 pm

The aspirin mask calls for a “cleansing gel.” What kind do you recommend, is Cetaphyl okay? Also, I’ve had milia for just under two months now. Is it too late for home treatment? I really want to get rid of these!! Thanks!

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beautifulwithbrains February 5, 2011 - 7:59 pm

Violet, yes, I think Cetaphyl would be ok. It’s gentle but effective. I’m afraid two months may be too long to do something about it. You can try to exfoliate and see if there are any improvements, but it may be necessary to consult your dermatologist to have them removed.

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Violet February 7, 2011 - 10:33 pm

How can you tell if there are improvements? Does it become smaller?
Also, for the Aspirin mask, how many tablets and how often do you recommend if you are trying to remove milia?
Last question, is removing a milia by a dermatologist painful (especially because I have them on my eyelid) and does it leave a mark for a few days after if you get it professionally removed (like an incision or something)?
Thanks in advance for answering my questions!

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beautifulwithbrains February 8, 2011 - 9:29 pm

Violet, yes, it should become smaller and then disappear if the exfoliating treatment works. To be honest, I have never tried the aspirin mask for milia so I’m not sure about doses and frequency. I doubt you’d need more than one tablet though.

The dermatologist may use a needle to remove the milia so it may be painful but that depends on how good he/she is and the patient’s pain threshold. Also, if the doctor is expert and well-qualified and everything goes well then there shouldn’t be any mark or scars.

Hope this helps.

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Susan February 24, 2012 - 2:11 am

Hi, I had melia my whole life, I have them removed with a needle all the time, I have used glycolic face wash and retine for years and I still have them all over , had apptmt. wit doc and he gave me a priscription fo
TAZORAC, he told me it is very strong.
Has anyone used this before ? please e-mail if you know about this. thanks.
Susan

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 7:08 am

Susan, hi. I’m sorry to hear that. I never used Tazorac so I can’t help you there, but if your doctor prescribed it to you I guess you should give it a go and see what happens.

Susan February 24, 2012 - 7:41 pm

thank you, I will try it for a while and will let you know the outcome.

beautifulwithbrains February 24, 2012 - 8:14 pm

Susan, you’re welcome. I hope it works well for you.

Susan January 24, 2013 - 9:07 pm

Hi Susan, I have milia my whole life all over my face, they are very deep.
It gets better with needles but if I dont keep it up, they will be back. got tazorac, did it for 6 months, no better. They told me it is very strong.
I had no peeling. If you try it I hope it works for you. no one can help. Good luck.

Violet February 10, 2011 - 12:31 pm

Thanks!
I haven’t tried the aspirin mask yet but after four days of exfoliating using a loofa and St. Ives Apricot Exfoliating scrub my milia have almost all disappeared! Even the one that is months old! This site helped a lot 🙂 Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

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beautifulwithbrains February 10, 2011 - 8:07 pm

Violet, you’re welcome. I’m so glad to hear that! 🙂

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Alia July 4, 2011 - 5:22 pm

If i apply aspirin then the milia will go away but the skin will remain red. So, is it permanent or temporary and is there anything we can do to avoid it?
What do you think of aspirin and honey would it be bad or would it help to prevent the redness?
Thanks.

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beautifulwithbrains July 4, 2011 - 9:08 pm

Alia, I haven’t tried the aspirin mask to get rid of milia yet so I’m afraid I don’t know if it is a normal reaction or not. You just mention redness but can you please provide more information? It could be an irritation but I wouldn’t want to give advice until I know for sure that’s what you have or I may make things worse.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mixing aspirin with honey. Honey has soothing properties so it could help prevent redness but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t say for sure. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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Prue July 23, 2011 - 7:22 am

I have milia deposits between my eyelashes!!! How do i get rid of them? they look loke dried sleep on my eyelashes Ugh!

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beautifulwithbrains July 23, 2011 - 8:14 pm

Prue, I’m sorry to hear that. Considering they are in such a delicate area, I think your best option is to go to a dermatologist to have them properly removed.

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lori October 3, 2011 - 4:11 pm

I started getting these when I turned 40. My best advice (and only if you are not a clutz) Using a very sharp sterilized needle with a small point: Prick inside the milia and do it about three times. Using a motion similiar to that of pulling a splinter out (dont use this motion on the eyes, only pricking straight away) Then apply a very warm compress and leave alone for a day or two. Apply the warn compress again and squeeze it out this time similar to a pimple. If it hurts too much on the eye area-leave it alone then. I get these on my eye lids and use the back end of my tweezers to squeeze them out. My dermatologist refused to remove the ones on my eyelids but I got them out myself-and did a great job might I add. Good luck!

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beautifulwithbrains October 3, 2011 - 6:47 pm

Lori, thanks for sharing these tips. I’m glad you managed to get rid of your milia seed safely. I am really clumsy so I think it’s best I don’t attempt it but I’m sure lots of people will find them very useful.

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Fiona April 5, 2012 - 4:45 am

Milia-what a digusting and horrible thing to have. Within the last few years milia have popped up around my lips and high on my cheek bones. I can often remove the ones on my cheek bones but around the lips – it is impossible. I have tried squeezing, usingh hot compresses and a tool specifically designed to remove milia…very little luck…I might get rid of one a year. I try to be careful with mosturizers and only use ones that are extremely light. Anyone else have them around the lips. I need HELP!
I will try to aspirin masque.
Thanks.

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beautifulwithbrains April 5, 2012 - 8:10 pm

Fiona, I’m sorry to hear you have milia, how awful! I hope the aspirin mask will work for you. If not, I think you should see a dermatologist to remove them.

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Lisa April 18, 2012 - 1:53 am

I have a 5 year old that has what seems to be milia seeds on her face. She has had these spots for months and months. I have been trying to figure out what they are and how to get rid of them. Is this something that happens often in children? She has them on her eyelids, lower eyelids, around her nose, and around her mouth. I wash her face with a gentle cleanser every night. They don’t seem to be improving. Would you suggest just taking her to a dermatologist? Do you think they would numb the areas before extraction? I don’t want her to be tortured! Thanks for the information.

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beautifulwithbrains April 18, 2012 - 6:19 am

Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that. Milia seeds is something that can affect everyone, both children and adults. Even newborn babies can have them. I would suggest to take her to a dermatologist yet. I’m not sure if the doctor would numb the area before extraction, but you can always ask him/her to do so. Or maybe he/she will just recommend an alternative treatment like exfoliation. Usually children’s skin exfoliates naturally and well on its own, so I wouldn’t suggest you try an exfoliant unless recommended by a doctor.

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chand May 15, 2012 - 8:43 am

i hav a milia problem befor 4 years ,,will u suggest me smthing to remove this

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beautifulwithbrains May 15, 2012 - 10:45 am

Chand, if you’ve had milia for 4 years, I’m not sure exfoliation will work well for you. I think your best bet would be to have them removed by a dermatologist.

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Jen August 3, 2012 - 3:16 am

Glycolic acid 20% applied nightly with a qtip to each one. Works like a charm. 🙂 takes a week or two, but no needles are necessary. I bought it on eBay.

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beautifulwithbrains August 3, 2012 - 6:07 am

Jen, I’m always a bit weary of buying this type of products on ebay but I’m glad you had a very positive experience and that glycolic acid 20% worked so well for you. 🙂

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Jane August 19, 2012 - 2:56 pm

I wanted to share how I cured my milia on my chin because I too, was as frustrated as all of you since last year May and searched all over internet for anyone who has any advice.

So I went to a dermatologist for extraction, which cost a lot of money. She gave me some cream and a lotion to use after. Now, the lotion was the key!

At first I was stubborn. I wanted to use my expensive anti-aging Lancome product and ignored the lotion. I am 37 and want to fight aging.

Of course after a while, the tiny hard bumps grew back all over my chin. Although not very noticeable, it bothered me so much when you feel them in clusters while washing face. I finally decided to not use any product after washing face. But after reading more threads, it was said that with oily skin like mine, not putting on moisturizer is as bad. The skin would excrete more oil to moisturize itself and probably makes the milia worse. This is when I started only use that lotion, which I understand has very minimal chemical.

After using it for about a month, not only the existing milia has fellen off on their own, I haven’t grown any!

The lotion is La Roche-Posay! You can get them on drugstore.com or walgreen.com, pretty common.

The dermatologist gave me La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide Soothing Protective Non-Oily Emulsion. I finished it. I bought and am current using La Roche-Posay Effaclar M Daily Mattifying Moisturizer and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Water Resistant Sunscreen Cream, SPF 15 when I go outside during the day.

However, I find the Sunscreen Cream feeling sticky, even though it says light and non-greasy, so I am going to buy La Roche-Posay Anthelios Face Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, SPF 45 to try. Since the “fluid” ones feel really light and smooth when applied. I like them a lot.

I still use Lancome anti-aging for the rest of my face, and use La Roche-Posay for only my chin and jaw line.

I also tried to make oatmeal mask at home and take fish oil to lower cholesterol, but I have given up on them. The lotion is what I am sticking to for over 2 months now and seems to work for me.

Hope this helps! 🙂

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beautifulwithbrains August 20, 2012 - 6:03 am

Jane, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad you’ve found a way to get rid of your milia seeds and I’m sure other people with your same problem will find your comment very helpful. 🙂

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Tina January 24, 2013 - 3:07 am

In July I noticed a bump on my eyelid close to my browline, thought maybe it was a bug bite but wasn’t sure, it itched slightly. As days passed by the bump grew bigger, the doctor said it was a bug bite and it would disappear on it’s own. In September a family friend who is an RN said to use some steriod cream on it to see if it would help it go away, and it did go down drastically. Then a few months ago, not sure when to be honest, I noticed a white spec close to it. I ignored it and thought maybe it would go away but then people starting noticing it. I researched it right away to see that many people have the same condition. I’ve been soaking it with steaming hot water on a wash cloth for a few weeks now, sometimes I think it’s getting smaller and other times not so much. I currently do not have health insurance so I need home remedies! I am getting married in a few months and really can’t afford a dermatology visit right now. Help!

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beautifulwithbrains January 24, 2013 - 8:53 pm

Tina, I’m really sorry to hear about your problem, but unfortunately I don’t think I can help. I’m just a blogger, not a doctor and so I can’t make a diagnosis, especially without seeing it. And if I don’t know the cause, any treatment I may suggest will only make it worse. If the steroid cream worked once, you can try that again, but I do suggest you try and see a doctor if you can. DIY treatments may be cheap, but you risk doing more harm than good. I know that money is a problem for many people, especially at this time, but I really wouldn’t know what else to suggest. Maybe if you ask a blogger who is also a dermatologist, like Dr Cynthia Bailey or Dr Jeffrey Benabio, they will be able to help.

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mhanswal March 10, 2013 - 11:47 am

Hello,every one.I’m from Myanmar,a hot country.
About 1 year ago,I’ve studied a lot.So,I slept at most 4 hours every night.
And,because of Stress,I was suffered from Acne.
Then,I use an antiacne emulsion that my friends suggest me.
I appiled it at night before going to bed.When I woke up,I found my face is seriously irretating.
So,I went to an aesthetic center which is popular here ‘cuz most celebrities here go.
There,the worker use a small surgery knife to my acnes.
When the pimple seeds are not totally came out,they are seriously irretating & worsen my skin.
So,I was really afraid,& saw a Dr.,she used chemical peeling method to get rid of them.
After it,my skin got milia seeds on my chin.When they are forced,they came out.But,they appeared again.Really itchy!Then,I consulted with another Dr,he also do chemical peeling again and again.
Then,my facial skin’s epidermal layer is full with those white seeds.
What should I do?Please advise me,I’m on [email protected].
Should I take plastic surgery on my whole face?Or,still remaining other ways???
Please give me your advice.
Thank you all.!Good luck!!!

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beautifulwithbrains March 12, 2013 - 11:00 pm

Mhanswal, I’m so sorry to hear about your problem, how awful! I’m only a blogger, not a doctor, so I can’t really prescribe you a treatment. I know that glycolic acid peels, when done right, do help get rid of milia seeds, but unfortunately, they can reappear at any time. I wouldn’t really do much to your skin atm. Just wait for it to heal and apply a sunscreen with Zinc Oxide to prevent the sun rays from causing further damage.

Also, you mentioned the you suffered from acne because of stress, so I would suggest you talk to your doctor to determine if your problem is caused by some underlying condition that hasn’t been diagnosed yet, such as a hormonal imbalance, perhaps? If that’s so, realising the cause will help your doctor to prescribe you an appropriate treatment that will solve the problem once and for all. Hope this helps.

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manu May 10, 2013 - 10:46 am

im suffer from milia seeds and i want to know which sunscreen ,scrub and moisturizer is good for my face (product name ) .my face is oily and sensitive ,now i am using cetaphil cleanser from 2 weeks , please help me .

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beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2013 - 6:04 pm

Manu, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. It’s really hard to recommend something, especially since you have sensitive skin and I’m not sure what ingredients your skin can’t tolerate. I would suggest to stay away from creams with rich textures which can cause milia seeds, and opt for lightweight products with few ingredients, such as those by cetaphil, as they will be less likely to irritate your skin. I’ve also written a post about the sunscreens for oily skin I recommend. You can find it here: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2013/05/07/what-are-the-best-sunscreens-for-oily-skin/

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manu May 11, 2013 - 2:43 am

thanks dear .

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beautifulwithbrains May 12, 2013 - 6:58 pm

Manu, you’re welcome.

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Linda August 24, 2013 - 11:42 pm

I went to the dermatologist to have mine removed. It was painful, she used this wand that felt like it burned the milia out , I have scabs right now and I have to use ice pack on my forehead where they were are about 15 of them, to get the sweeling down that I was told would take a couple of days and it has been 5 and it is still a little swollen.
The dermatologist charged me 115 dollars to remove them. Not including her doctors office visit.

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beautifulwithbrains August 25, 2013 - 2:44 pm

Linda, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’m sure it will help others to know what to expect when going to the dermatologist to have them removed. I’m just sorry it wasn’t more positive and I hope the swelling will subside soon.

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Grace Adegoke September 17, 2017 - 2:48 pm

I am suggesting if creams containing aloe vera and cucumber can be good for someone with milia seed

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Gio September 23, 2017 - 3:06 pm

Grace, they’re not bad, but they won’t remove the milia. You need exfoliation for that.

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