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A milium cyst is a small, white raised bump on the skin that typically appears on the nose and cheeks, however can appear anywhere on the face or body. The bumps are often found in groups called milia.
Milia are very common in newborn babies and referred to as ‘milk spots’. Unlike spots or pimples milia feel quite hard and do not have any redness or inflammation.
What causes Milia?
A milium cyst occurs when keratin (a strong protein that is found in skin tissues, hair and nail cells) becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Milia can occur in all ages but is most common in newborn babies. They’re typically found on the face, eyelids and cheeks.
There is no clear cause for milia; however there are many types of milia – listed below.
Neonatal Milia (Milk Spots)
This type of milia develops in new born babies and heals within a few weeks and is referred to as milk spots.
This condition is caused by keratin trapped beneath the skin surface, cysts can be found around the eyelids and forehead. Primary milia can appear on children or adults and can disappear without treatment, but tends to last longer in adults.
Milia en Plaque
This type of milia is rare, and is commonly associated with genetic or autoimmune skin disorders. The cysts develop on a raised and inflamed patch of skin called a plaque.
This condition is primarily seen in middle-aged women; however it can occur in adults and children of both sexes.
Secondary milia can occur in areas of the body that have seen injury or trauma. It is thought that this is due to damage caused to the sweat glands in the affected area.
Multiple eruptive milia
Multiple eruptive milia appears over the course of a few weeks or months in clusters, and is most commonly found on the face, upper arms and upper half of the torso. This type of milia is rare.