What are milia?
Tiny cysts just under the surface of the skin

How can I remove my milia?
De-roofing with a sterile needle and gently expressing the contents
Fine wire diathermy
Topical retinoids, in some cases
Chemical peels or laser, in some cases

Milia are common, harmless white bumps under the surface of the skin, which can develop at any age. They aren’t dangerous but can be a nuisance, and fortunately are fairly easy to treat. 

What are milia? 

Milia are tiny cysts containing keratin, a type of protein found in the skin. They appear as small white bumps just under the surface of the skin. They’re most common on the face, especially around the eyes, but can occur elsewhere on the skin. 

Why do milia occur?

Milia are very common, and can occur in anyone of any age, from newborn babies to adults. In some cases, they develop following injury to or inflammation of the skin, but in some cases the reason for them isn’t understood. 

How can milia be treated?

Milia are harmless, and treatment isn’t necessary. In some cases, they go away on their own. Treatments are available, which include:

  • Using a sterile needle to pierce the top of the cyst, and carefully squeezing out the contents
  • Fine wire diathermy
  • If milia are widespread, a topical retinoid may help

Sometimes, chemical peels or laser ablation may be used, particularly if milia are extensive




Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…