When it comes to conversations about skin care, there are certain things that people with milia are probably tired of hearing. Milia are basically tiny white bumps that form when dead skin cells or keratin get trapped under the skin’s surface. They look similar to cysts, and can show up pretty much anywhere around the eyes, nose, and cheeks.
I’ve had milia for years. From the time I was a teenager, they began showing up all over my eyelids and under-eye area. It is possible to get rid of them with the help of a dermatologist and through proper treatment (do not pop them!). But honestly, they never bothered me too much. Being that they’re virtually painless, my milia bumps were always just there, and I learned to accept them as part of who I am. I never let them stop me from playing up my eyes when wearing makeup or emphasizing them with eyeshadow.
The only time my milia have ever been a problem is when other people ask me bizarre questions as a result of their presence. Let’s just say that it’s not fun to be gawked at over a skin condition that you have no control over. If you ever find yourself curious about those small translucent bumps on a person’s face, it’s safe to say that you should avoid these comments at all costs.
1. “Are those things contagious? They look pretty bad.”
No, they’re not contagious at all, actually. This isn't some some sort of disease that you can “catch,” or which can be passed on through close contact. The bumps are pretty much harmless, both to those who have them and those around them.
2. “Why do you still have those bumps? Shouldn’t they have gone away by now?”
I know that for some folks, milia can appear and then disappear within a couple of weeks, thanks to at-home remedies or the cysts not being too embedded into the skin. However, in cases like mine, milia can stick around for months at a time. The cysts can be stubborn as hell. If the person who has them has tried everything under the sun to get rid of them, to no avail, then reminding them of how much time has passed won't help.
3. “You probably got those bumps because you don’t take good care of your skin.”
This comment is totally uncalled for and completely inaccurate. I follow my dermatologist-recommended skincare routine religiously, so a lack of skincare is not the reason I have milia. There are a ton of factors that can contribute to the formation of the bumps, from allergic reactions to sun damage to high cholesterol. Assuming that someone has milia because their face is “dirty” is not only a hugely jerk-ish move, but a great indicator that you think it's your place to comment on someone's hygiene.
4. “Why don’t you just pop it like a pimple?”
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If only it were that easy. There are certain skin conditions you shouldn’t pick at, and milia is definitely one of them. Not only would popping it be extremely painful, but it could make things worse and cause some serious irritation. If someone wants to get them sliced off at the dermatologist’s office, that’s their choice. No one should be pressuring you to look a certain way.
5. “You should cover it up with concealer.”
No matter what anyone says, milia cysts are nothing to be ashamed of. If concealer is your thing, go for it. However, if you feel confident without it, there’s no reason you should be afraid to flaunt your milia when barefaced and natural.
6. “Aren’t those bumps just something that babies get?”
Milia is commonly referred to as “baby acne” because the cysts are often seen on infants and toddlers. However, adults obviously get them as well. The condition has nothing to do with age, and anyone can get them at any time.
7. “Don’t you get embarrassed having those bumps around all the time?”
At the end of the day, people shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed about milia. I don’t mind having it, and probably won’t have my bumps removed anytime soon — no matter how many times I get pressured into doing so for the sake of looking “normal" or "prettier."
Besides, the needles and lances required to extract milia make me super squeamish.