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Can I Remove Milia at Home

Why You Should Never Try to Remove Milia at Home

If you've ever been unlucky enough to suffer from milia, you'll know how stubborn those little blighters are. Milia appear as little white-coloured bumps on the skin, often around the eyes and tops of the cheeks. They're common in newborns and children, but adults can get them too. They're caused by a buildup of keratin, and unlike whiteheads they don't form around a pore, meaning they can't be easily popped out. Milia are hard, almost like tiny little pearls, and to get rid of them, you will either need to gently exfoliate them away over time, or get them lanced by a professional.

I know what you're thinking: can't I just do that at home? I'm here to tell you that no, you can't. Trust me, I learned the hard way. When I woke up one day with three spontaneous milia on the side of my face, I thought I could handle removing them. I've had extraction facials, spoken to countless dermatologists, and watched dozens of YouTube videos to learn the technique. All I needed was a steady hand and a sterilised needle, right? It couldn't be that hard?!

Two months later, I still have a slightly discoloured patch of skin on my cheek where my DIY milia removal quickly went from "gently break the skin with the needle and pop it out" to "OMFG why won't this thing come out". I got two out with minimal damage, but one on my cheek refused to budge, and every time I tried to pop it out, I damaged the skin around it more. I had a scab the size of a 5p coin for two weeks. Removing milia is not as easy as it looks and should definitely be left to professionals.

If you must attempt at-home treatment for milia, go down the exfoliation route, but do not be tempted to poke and prod at your face, no matter how experienced you believe you are. Gentle acid toners/tonics and at-home peels containing ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid will help to encourage those top layers of skin to slough off, so you can free the milia gently, without damaging or breaking your skin. Avoid using gritty scrubs, which can irritate the skin further. This is not the time for that apricot scrub you've had lurking in the cupboard for five years.

I know you probably hate your milia and want them gone immediately, but trust me when I say it's much easier to conceal a tiny white dot than it is to do the same to a giant, crusty scab. Be kind to your skin, and only trust people who're trained to perform extractions under the right conditions!

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