What Are The Skin Colored Bumps Under My Eyes? 5 Things You Didn't Know About Milia

When bumps pop up on your skin, it's natural to be a little nervous. Trying new beauty products can lead to skin reactions, which are usually relatively harmless. But you've probably stumbled upon some little dots near your nose and wondered, "What are the skin colored bumps under my eyes?" One of the most common skin problems known to man is called milia, and yes, they are the little white or flesh-colored dots that appear on your skin, usually under your eyes. They're just blocked pores where keratin has become trapped under the skin and formed a small, hard cyst.

Luckily milia are common, painless, and easy to treat. The most typical place for them to pop up is on the face, usually on the skin around your eyes or on your cheeks. However, they can appear pretty much anywhere. I've currently got a patch on my upper arms, where my skin reacted badly to a new sunscreen. Left untreated, milia may go away on their own. However, you can easily get rid of them using a few products you probably already have in your bathroom cabinet. It's important to be patient and give the bumps time to go away, but if you've tried home remedies that aren't working, it's probably your best bet to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

Here are five things you didn't know about milia, including at-home treatments.

1. It's sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as "baby acne"

Milia is actually most common in babies. According to How Stuff Works, almost 40 percent of infants will develop milia, most commonly on their faces. It usually appears within the first few weeks of birth and goes away on its own. While it is safe to self-treat milia as an adult, don't do that with your baby. If the milia persists long enough to cause concern, bring it up at your next pediatrician's appointment.

2. It's relatively preventable

Sometimes, you don't know how your face is going to react to a new skincare product. In those cases, milia can be inevitable. However, there are a few ways you can avoid milia in your day-to-day life. First of all, don't use heavy eye creams and moisturizers if you know you're prone to milia. The bumps are caused by clogged pores, and oil is one of the main culprits. Avoid oil-based eye makeup removers and always remove your eye makeup and wash your face at night. On the same note, make sure you wash your pillow case often. Leftover hair product can easily transfer to your face and cause milia.

3. You can usually treat it at home

The easiest way to avoid clogged pores is through regular exfoliation, which can also help get rid of milia. First, steam your face to open up pores and get them ready for exfoliation. Fill your sink with hot water and cover your head with a towel to trap steam before leaning over the sink. The steam can also help clear your sinuses, which is an added bonus. After that, use a gentle scrub to exfoliate the affected area, being especially careful with the delicate skin around your eyes. Use a Clarisonic brush, if you have one, for an even more gentle solution. Apply a retinoid to keep milia from coming back.

Try: Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Skin Cleansing System, $150, Amazon

4. If you're all about natural products, you can DIY a solution

One of the most gentle ways to exfoliate skin is by using a sugar scrub. While you can easily buy one at the store, it can be an unnecessary expense. DIY one yourself using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Recipes are easy to find online, but a combination of granulated sugar, olive oil or raw honey and fresh-squeezed lemon juice will work perfectly (and smell really good).

Try: LaLicious Sugar Kiss, $35, Amazon

5. If your at-home solutions don't work, see a dermatologist

With especially stubborn milia, sometimes exfoliation won't do the trick. In that case, the next solution is lancing, which is when you use a small, sharp needle to prick the skin and remove the cyst. Even if you consider yourself a beauty expert, this is definitely not something you should do at home. Messing up milia removal can cause scarring, and the last thing you want is to slip up when there's a needle right next to your eye.

Yes, milia can be annoying, but they're a perfectly natural skin problem. With regular exfoliation, you can put them in your past.

Image Credit: _nicolee/Flickr