How Do You Get Rid of Milia?


Have you ever had milia? Those little white bumps that appear around the eyes but sometimes around the nose and mouth, too?

Also called a milk spot or an oil seed, milia are tiny keratin-filled cysts that occur commonly in newborns but also in adults. These little white bumps contain dead skin cells that get trapped under the surface of the skin when there aren’t big enough pores to properly express the trapped matter. They are barely noticeable unless they are on your own face. Mostly a cosmetic annoyance, milia are notoriously difficult to get rid of. One of our readers, Kayla, is dying to know how you got rid of yours…

I have tiny little white bumps — or milia — underneath my eyes, like right where my eye circles meet my cheeks. They’ve been there for ages, and nothing seems to make them better or worse. They are just there. I’d like to get rid of them naturally without having to do anything too expensive or over the top, like surgical procedures. How have others managed to get rid of milia? I’d love to know! 

We don’t have much experience with this, though admittedly milia is on our trouble list, too. We’ve heard that gentle and consistent exfoliation is helpful, but that’s a particularly sensitive, thin-skinned area of the face. So let’s kick this one to you…

Have you successfully treated milia with natural remedies? Have you found that certain products increase or decrease milia? Let us know in the comments!

36 Responses to “How Do You Get Rid of Milia?”
  1. Johanna says:

    I do have them to since my teenage years.
    I did have them removed once with some kind of apparatus where you have to hold something in a wet towel and the beautician in the meantime attacks your milia with a small needle..
    Was terribly red after, and she advised me to do a gentle peeling 2x a week. it didn’t work:
    Barley healed, my “friends” came back very fast.. so I tried to squeeze them. (hurts terribly).. that made them even stronger..and sitting deeper in the skin.
    So, I would love to hear somebod’sy success-story about this topic!

  2. Val says:

    I’m a 3rd year medical student in the US. Milia are regularly treated in the dermatologists office. Since they sit deep in the dermis, you cannot successfully pop them as you would a pimple. The derm procedure involves taking a small scalpel and piercing the milia and then squeezing it out with a q-tip. There’s barely any redness and it’s effective.

  3. Johanna says:

    to Val..
    Yes, so did my beautician, but I wouldn’t say that you don’t get any redness.. I was very red for at least 3 months.. and than the play started all over again.

  4. Naomi says:

    Yep, I had a lot of them as a teenager and, being the vain little creature I was, I went to my doctor to complain and seek a cure. He did something like what Val described above and there was the teeniest little bit of blood when he did it, but they healed up in no time with no scarring. He had no explanation for why they formed or how to prevent them. Luckily I don’t seem to get them anymore.

  5. Silvy says:

    Maybe I don’t have them as bad as others, but mine always go away when I avoid putting heavy products around my eyes. I only use eye cream in the morning, to protect the skin, and only a few times a week, and it has to be something light, like Juice Beauty, or Sibu eye cream or the John Masters eye gel.

    So I guess first thing might be to stop putting any products around the eyes- could be from your make up too. And then every night, a gentle, warm compress to clean the area. That’s where I’d start and then see if there are improvements before moving on to any more drastic measures.

  6. Kathleen says:

    They often appear under the eyes when you’re using too much moisturizer or oil there – perhaps try backing off from products if you use something in the undereye area?

  7. nan says:

    Val said it best. Only piercing the skin on top of it will enable you to remove one(and a sterilized needle will do).

    In my case, although I cannot pinpoint why, I see them appear on my cheeks after using Vapour Organic Beauty stains for a few days in a row. Until I find why, this lovely line is on “time out” for me.

  8. Tina says:

    I had one big one on my lower eyelid that I had removed at the dermatologist office (scalpel). I had a couple of other small ones forming at the time on my eyelid which completely disappeared when I started using argan oil as my facial moisturizer. I don’t do any eye cream etc, just a light swipe of oil.

  9. Tess says:

    I used to have a lot of milia around my eyes. While I still have some, I’ve found it greatly decreased in the last few months. I think its the combination of an exfoliating toner and an organic eye cream. I’ve been using the Michael Todd Intensive Eye Treatment and the Andalou Naturals Pore Minimizer toner.

  10. kimberlyloc says:

    More props to Val’s comment.

    I get milia around my undereyes and have a trusted aesthetician who removes them very gently / cleanly for me. I’ve learned which undereye moisturizers work best for me (anything too heavy and milia happens!) and am on top of my (gentle) exfoliation in that area.

    Def see a derm / medical aesthetician you trust for help! Do not try to pop them yourself!!!

  11. Ally says:

    I’ve only had one incidence with milia and just one spot, but it lasted for months. I was baffled what to do. When I moved to Seattle and found a new esthetician she took care of it for me during a wax appointment. I was a little hesitant, but it was a good, clean spa. She used gloves, everything was sterile… It cleared right up with no trouble after that. I kept the area clean and gently wiped my Suki clarifying toner (which has white willow derived salicylic acid). No more since.

  12. RobinW says:

    I get them when I am careless about applying my moisturizer. Always on either side of the bridge of my nose, about an inch or so down from the inside corner of my eyes. So annoying. The only topical thing I have ever found that worked (if you don’t want to get an extraction), was a toning serum by Little Flowers on Etsy. However, the owner, Nicole has had serious illness going on. And her shop is only filled sporadically. It amazingly did reduce my milia, though. I was shocked.

  13. Amy says:

    i used to have 3 little dots under my eyes but they went away after using green coffee bean oil around my eyes

  14. Ru says:

    Use apple cider vinegar toner! I made a DIY ACV toner: 1 part ACV + 3 parts water. Use a cotton pad and gently swipe on the under eye area. I am prone to milia as well but I’ve not had it since using the right eye cream/oil. :)

  15. Rebecca says:

    I don’t think milia is as much of a condition as a reaction most of the time. From my experience, it’s just clogged pores. Whenever I stop wearing concealer or any product under my eyes, they completely go away. When I start wearing makeup there again though, they come back AND I get dark circles. It’s funny how so many people talk about how they NEED eye cream and under-eye concealer so badly because of their dark circles, but I really believe that both concealer and eye cream can create dark circles/milia, or at least make them a lot worse. Even a completely organic eye cream gave me milia and made my under eyes darker. The skin under my eyes completely clears up and brightens when I don’t wear skincare or makeup products there. As long as I’m sleeping too, of course. Try it!

  16. Valerie says: I use the Eminence Naseberry Eye Exfoliant. Routine use helps small milia. I’ve also had success gently using a microderm treatment around the eyes, but you must be very careful.

  17. nan says:

    Kudos Rebecca! I’ve given up eye cream altogether *but* did not think about under-eye concealer or make-up. I have a strong feeling that you are spot-on.Thank you for the suggestions.

  18. Katy says:

    I read a blog post the other day that suggested that it was over exfoliation and dehydration that triggered over oil production and milia. Maybe it is just finding the right balance for your skin. Here is the post:

  19. Hazel says:

    I have milia too. On the bridge of my nose between my eyes. It’s not as bad as it used to be but I still have them. I’m going to try some of the things suggested here. But I’ve found doing a DIY facial every week has been helping keep my skin clear.

  20. ange says:

    this is interesting, however; both my brother and I have milia and his is significantly worse than mine. I have had a couple extracted by a derm, I found it painful, but they did heal well in that area and have not returned. From these comments I am going to immediately try the ACV toner.

  21. Katrina says:

    Rebecca is onto something. I stopped using concealer under my eyes about 2 weeks ago. My dark circles are definitely lighter, although it may be due to the fact that mascara doesn’t flake as much without the creamy concealer. And the one milia I’ve had for as long as I can remember? I just checked and it’s gone!

  22. Loving all the suggestions and thoughts here. VERY intrigued by the idea of ditching under-eye products altogether and seeing less of the usual culprits (dark circles be damned). I may have to experiment, though I just got a new concealer…

  23. Donna says:

    I had one on my cheek for months and it was a big one. I started applying masks regularly and one day it finally broke through the skin on its own. I guess the masks drew it to the surface. I get the odd one from time to time.

  24. Katy says:

    @Rebecca – when you apply a moisturizer or oil, do you skip the under eye area as well?

  25. Sarah says:

    I got my first one on the skin under my eye about 9 months ago after using a cream that was too rich for my slightly oily under-eye skin. After nothing else worked, I was really intrigued by two different reviews of Zweena’s Argan Ultra-Nourish Eye Serum that said it helped diminish milia. I was sort of skeptical, but bought some for myself as a birthday treat and, sure enough, after about two weeks of using it day and night, the milia sort of “fell” off of my skin. I thought it might’ve just been a fluke or coincidence, but a week ago I discovered another spot up near my eyebrow. I started using the Zweena religiously again and a few days ago it too “fell off.” Given what another commenter said, I wonder if it’s the argan oil? One way or another – I definitely recommend giving it a shot of you’ve had trouble.

  26. Marcella says:

    I am 39. I have never had them, then, as I was going through a food cleanse I suddenly got two right under my right eye. I am not sure that is why I got them, but my husband got a few at the same time and he was also doing the cleanse. I looked around the Internet to see how to get rid of them and saw the suggestion to exfoliate. So I used a gentle exfoliator making sure to rub it over the milia pretty much every night and after a couple of weeks ( or maybe a little more) I was able to pop it without really pressing much at all. I used vasanti brighten up enzymatic face rejuvenator because I had a sample lying around and it felt very gentle to use around the eye.It worked for me. i remember I was very surprised when they just popped. I had no redness or blood.

  27. Marcella says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention I do not use under eye products or eye creams. I use only one love organics cleansing oil and vitamin d oil at night and the love springs eternal serum in the morning. I use foundation almost every day but I do not need concealer. I also do not use eye creams but do not have pretty much any wrinkle.

  28. Valerie says:

    Whenever I get them, I use a clay based mask on them for a few days. The kind that are drawing and pore clearing seem to help the best, like a bentonite or french green clay one. It’s not always the best for the eye area, but it’s the only thing I’ve found to help them without using something sharp.

  29. Renata says:

    I will tell you one little tip that worked for me, and I hope it will help you – l ditched the creams and started using facial oils instead! Simple as that, and l had no more millia again.
    I used to suffer from them really badly, and for a really long time too, so when l noticed they were gone after switching to oils l was delighted to no end! I use any kind of good oil instead, rosehip, avocado, argan, you name it.
    I have to say l used an eye cream (dr.organics rose otto eye cream that came free with a health mag) last week, and next morning l got millia back! so l shelved the eye cream immediatly, as it only confirmed my theory that it is caused by creams, esp heavier ones.

  30. Tianna says:

    I noticed that a lot of eye creams/ serums can caused this problem . The only one I haven’t had trouble with is Pai Echium Eye Cream which solved a lot of the eye issues I had

  31. Nola says:

    Press a hot wet face flannel on your Milia morning and evening. worked for me to an extent but you have to be diligent and keep at it
    Being small sebaceous cysts, MiIia may be caused by our inability to digest dairy products. I have told this by various alternative practitioners.
    I was dairy free for years and then started eating ice cream. Result Milia and other cysts inside my body were also diagnosed.

  32. Diana says:

    I am an electrotysist and have been successfully removing milia for years simply using the heat of the electrolysis needle to gently irradicate the milia. They shrink under the heat and naturally fall away after a few days. I am trained in advanced work and this method can be used carefully on the eyelids and underneath.

  33. Kate says:

    My goodness, my experience with Milia has been very different from the others who have commented about their battles with Milia. I am 24 years old and have struggled with severe Milia since I was 15/16. My cheeks/jawline and chin are covered with Milia. My Milia is and has never been just a few bumps, but rather, something that consumes my entire face, it looks like sever acne scares. For years, I was so beyond self-conscious, and while I still am, I try my hardest to look past these bumps. My dermatologist has extracted these bumps a few times, however, your face becomes swollen after so many extractions and it becomes hard to remove any bumps remaining. Post extraction, you’re left with some surface scratches and redness, but give it a few days and your skin looks incredible. However, I may be one of the few that continuously grows Milia even after extraction. This has been an on-going battle. I just want soft and smooth skin. I’ve done numerous Retinol treatments and have had 12 bi-weekly laser re-surfacing facials in hopes of ridding myself of these pesky bumps. But still, no such luck. One can hope!

  34. Rose says:

    I have two Milia on my bottom eyelid and one is quite large and been there for years. Tried everything I can think of apart from a surgical procedure and nothing works. I rarely use creams, moisturiser or makeup apart from lipstick occasionally and have never used anything at all around the eyes so it certainly is not that. Never tried Aragan oil so will have a go at that. Fingers crossed.

  35. Sue says:

    Small piece of dry ice. Place on Milia bump for 5 seconds. Skin will turn white, then will be small sore for a week. When it heals, the bump is gone and no scar. Do one at a time unless very close to each other… It got rid of all 10 of my bumps..

  36. Sue says:

    Careful around eyes. Do not do any bumps on eyes

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