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Ask Kerry: Whiteheads V. Milia

 

WHITEHEADS VS. MILIA: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

 

 

Noticing mysterious white bumps on your face? You might be dealing with whiteheads or milia. Whiteheads are a type of acne, so if you've ever had a blemish-prone phase (who hasn't?), chances are you’ve had one. And although milia often gets mistaken for whiteheads, whether or not you’ve had them depends largely on genetics. Read on for a few tips on how to spot the difference between these little white bumps, and what you can do to treat them. 

 

WHITEHEADS

 

WHAT THEY ARE

A whitehead, also known as a closed comedone, is a type of acne that occurs when excess oil, dead skin and debris get trapped inside a pore, resulting in a clog below the skin. 

 

WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE

Unlike blackheads, which are open to the air, whiteheads are closed by a thin layer of skin, giving them a raised, white appearance. Whiteheads are usually smaller and less painful than other types of acne like cystic acne or nodules; however, they may be slightly tender to the touch.

 

HOW TO BE SURE

Whiteheads most often pop up on areas that produce a lot of oil, mostly the forehead and chin. A whitehead is usually skin-colored with a white center and some redness around the edges.

 

HOW TO TREAT THEM

Incorporating a regular exfoliating ritual can help prevent dead skin, dirt and oil from getting trapped inside your pores. Our TCA LACTIC & GLYCOLIC FACE PEEL contains salicylic and glycolic acids, exfoliants that help dissolve a layer of dead skin and balance oil production to keep pores clean. If you find certain exfoliating acids are too much for your skin, try a detoxifying enzyme treatment like our DUAL ENZYME MASK. Fruit enzymes provide a gentler, pregnancy-safe alternative to peels that gently dissolve dead skin cells and help dislodge clogged pores. Super stubborn whitehead? Although it might be tempting, never pick at your skin. If you have a whitehead that looks ready to burst, gently apply a warm compress until the pore naturally purges the clog. If nothing happens, leave it alone and seek help from a pro who can safely extract clogs without damaging your skin. 

 

 

MILIA 

 

WHAT THEY ARE

Milia are small cysts under the skin that occur when a protein called keratin gets trapped at the base of a follicle, forming a tiny, painless bump. Although milia can be caused by using heavy creams, most often, genetics are to blame.

 

WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE

A very tiny, usually very white bump-about the size of a large grain of sand. Unlike whiteheads, the area around the bump usually isn’t raised or inflamed. When you gently run your finger over milia, it will almost feel like there is a small pebble right under your skin.

 

HOW TO BE SURE

Milia generally occur around the eye, eyelids, and upper cheeks. It is unusual to get milia on the forehead and chin, where whiteheads are common. Milia will not respond to hot compresses, pinching, or prodding.

 

HOW TO TREAT THEM

Repeat after usdon’t squeeze! Milia is trapped under the skin, and can't be extracted through the pore. Milia often clears up on its own, but you can speed up the process by exfoliating regularly with a TCA LACTIC & GLYCOLIC FACE PEEL or a physical exfoliation tool like our DERMAPLANING EXFOLIATION TOOL. As you slough off dead cells and the skin regenerates, keratin will come to the surface and can be extracted. Getting desperate? A derm can help extract milia by poking a hole through the skin and gently pulling out the keratin plug. Do not try this yourself!

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