What Are Those White Pimples That Appear Around Your Eyes (Note: Don’t Squeeze Them!)

It is common for white pimples to appear on your facial skin, especially around your eyes. Some people mistake these for pimples. However, their composition is different and they should be treated differently.

Bright Side reveals what these “whiteheads” really are and why it’s not a good idea to try to remove them at home. Remember that, if in doubt, you should always seek the advice of a professional.

What are they?

The name may not sound familiar, but those white spots we are talking about are actually referred to as milia cysts. When they appear in a large number, they are simply called milia. These small skin growths can appear in people of any ethnicity or age, but they are especially common in newborn babies.

These cysts appear when keratin (a protein) accumulates under the skin (dermis). Most of the time, they are white, but they can also have yellowish tint and measure from 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. In fact, they appear in up to 50% of newborns and are most commonly found on their foreheads, cheeks, nose, and chin. However, they can also just appear on the upper part of the torso and on the baby’s limbs.

Generally, these protuberances do not cause pain, but there are people who may suffer from skin redness and irritation, mainly due to the friction between the milia and certain types of rough fabrics.

What causes them

In the case of newborn babies, the exact cause of milia still remains unknown. Scientists suspect they might even be born with them. On the other hand, in adults, it’s usually linked to some kind of previous skin damage, which can be:

  • Blistering wounds
  • Burns
  • Long-term sun damage
  • Prolonged use of steroid creams
  • Procedures like dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing
  • Loss of the skin’s natural ability to exfoliate (due to aging)

How to get rid of them

In most cases, milia are not serious and will go away on their own in a matter of a few months. As tempting as it may seem, trying to remove them on your own is actually a bad idea.

If you try to pop them by squeezing them out, you will be disappointed to find that this doesn’t work and that all you’ll get is a red, irritated face with the potential for scarring and infection.

While there is no specific treatment to eliminate milia, there are some things you can do at home that can help both to prevent them and to encourage their quick recovery:

  • Clean the affected area daily with a mild soap.
  • Use steam to open your pores.
  • Exfoliate your skin 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen.
  • Avoid thick creams or oil-based products.
  • Opt for topical retinoids (vitamin A creams or gels).

While there is no need to seek urgent medical attention when they appear, there are some people who prefer to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons. In these cases, a dermatologist can help by doing a simple procedure that does not require anesthesia and is performed with a sterile needle. Other types of treatments are also possible, but you should always check your options with an expert and your physician.

Have you ever had this kind of pimple? What was your experience like? How did you get rid of them?

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