What is milia?
Milia are stubborn small white round lumps that affect the skin’s tissue, and cannot be squeezed out. They are built up keratin which is a natural protein found under the skin and dead skin cells. Most commonly found under the eyes and cheeks. As they are not a pore issue, they can be stubborn to treat at times.
I look after clients who have milia-prone skin even if they have a very good skincare routine. Some clients change to using a rich skincare product and then notice a milia break out. Some clients that wouldn’t have a regular skincare regime can also suffer from milia.
This leads me to think, there is a strong possibility that milia is linked hereditary and from hormonal imbalances of the skin. However, it is also important to take all aspects into account, e.g., your diet and lifestyle, and that is why when treating milia, we need to treat the whole body, inside and out.
What is syringoma?
Syringoma on the other hand is very strongly hereditary linked. These particular lesions affect the sweat glands. They can look similar to milia, more yellowish in colour, larger and more irregular in shape. If you find the area more stubborn to treat, it’s more likely a syringoma issue. You can find syringoma in similar areas to milia and also above the eye lids.
How to treat milia and syringoma?
You can get professional treatments to remove milia and syringoma. I recommend to try the thermavein machine if the milia is persistent. It is a very gentle, non-invasive method to remove milia.
Other salon treatments that are very effective and I recommend are lactic and glycolic peels. It is extremely important to maintain a regular skincare regime where you deep cleanse, exfoliate frequently, moisturise and use an SPF every day.
Natural remedies to use at home
How can you help the condition internally and externally while at home? There are lots of natural ingredients you can use.
Firstly, I do recommend to steam your skin over hot water - concentrate on the area affected by milia and just 5 - 7 min will be enough. Do it for less time if you feel you have extra sensitive skin.
You also have to find products that break down the skin cells as much as possible, e.g., lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar, egg white and manuka honey (if you are not vegan) are very effective.
Make sure you dilute lemon and apple cider vinegar with water - a teaspoon is fine with half teaspoon of water, then use a cotton bud to rub over the area affected by milia or syringoma. You can do this before bed and cover with a gauze.
Sandalwood powder and rose water are also very effective to use on milia and syringoma.
Oils are a great help to soften the milia, e.g., castor oil reduces oil build up and is also antibacterial. Coconut oil is very good for dry skin, just make sure it's extra virgin refined coconut oil you use. Almond oil and flax-seed oil are also very effective.
DIY face masks to treat milia and syringoma
For a mask you can use juice of half lemon, mixed with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of castor oil. Apply it over the area and leave for 20 min, then take off.
If you are not vegan, you can use 1 tablespoon yogurt mixed with 1 tablespoon egg white, 1 tablespoon manuka honey and half teaspoon castor oil . Mix into a mask, apply for 20 min and remove.
Seeds in grapefruit are full of vitamin E and flavanoids to help heal the skin. You can blend them with other mask ingredients and apply to the skin.
Foods to remove from your diet
As milia can be linked to high cholesterol it is also important to cut down on sugar, takeaways and greasy foods, and increase intake of fruit and vegetables, vitamin A and D, and eat good fats - avocados, nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut and olive oil.
I hope these tips will help you to treat your skin as a temporary approach. I do however recommend to follow a good skincare routine daily to keep your skin hydrated, and making sure you eat well and get the right balance of nutrients into your body.