Milia in Newborn and Babies – Types, Causes & Treatment

You may often have to grapple with skin problems in your baby because of their delicate and tender skin. One such skin condition that bothers infants is milia. They appear as little white bumps on baby skin and are commonly known as milk spots.

What is Milia?

Milia or milium cysts are tiny white spots which appear on newborns’ noses, cheeks or chins. These spots can also be found around the eyes and forehead, and at times on the baby’s genitals.Newborn milia are basically cysts, filled with keratin, an element produced by the skin. These cysts are harmless and are seen in groups and are hence called milia. They appear in around 40 to 50 percent of new-born babies.

Some babies may get a few while others have many of them. Normally milia appear within a day or two after birth, but in premature babies it may not show up for days or weeks.

Types of Milia

These bumps appear as small and dome-shaped eruptions of around 1-2 mm on baby’s skin, and are either white or yellow. They may turn red and cause irritation if exposed to rough sheets or clothing.

There are different types of milia. These cysts are categorised depending on the age when it appears. However, children mostly suffer from two types of milia mentioned below:

  Neonatal Milia

This condition of neonatal milia or primary milia is found in newborns and gets corrected within a few weeks.

  Juvenile Milia

Juvenile milia can be seen at birth or later, and this form of milia is most commonly linked with a range of genetic, and at times certainmedical conditions. Conditions linked with juvenile milia include basal cell nevus syndrome and gardener syndrome.

What Causes Milia in Newborns

Milia forms because the oil glands in newborns are still developing. The skin which does not come off naturally remains stuck. The blocked sebaceous glands present in the skin are basically responsible for producing an oil called sebum which keeps the skin fresh and supple.

The oil and dead skin cells together clog the pores of your baby’s skin which causes a series of white spots on the surface of the skin. However, it disappears after the surface of the bump wears away and the dead skin comes off.

Symptoms of Milia in Babies

Milia do not usually show symptoms but some adults may experience itchiness. Thesemilk spots on baby’s face are most commonly found on the baby’s chin, nose and cheeks as mentioned above. Sometimes, bumps can be seen on the gums or the roof of the baby’s mouth. These are also known as Epstein pearls. Babies prone to acne could also develop symptoms that lead to milia.

Test and Diagnosis

Milia can be easily recognised on baby’s skin based on the look of the cysts. There is no specific test required to determine milia in babies.

Can Milia Cause Acne in My Grown Up Baby?

There is no connection between milia and acne in a grown up baby. Genetics could be one of the reasons for acne in teens or adults.

Milia Treatment for Babies

Ideally there is no treatment for baby milia removal because the bumps usually fade away within two to four weeks without any treatment. However, if the spots are found in adults, it would require a minor surgical procedure to eliminate.

You can try the following procedure if they cause irritation. Wash the baby’s face on a daily basis with a mild baby cleanser and warm water, and then simply wipe your baby’s skin dry.

Never pinch or rub on the cysts because it may lead to irritation or infection. Also, don’t use any oils or lotions on your baby’s face.

How to Get Rid of Milia With Home Remedies

There is no way to get rid of these spots unless they fade away on their own. But you can try some home remedies that are easy on baby’s skin.

  • You can dip a soft cloth in hot water and then squeeze out the excess water. After that, check the cloth to ensure it is not too hot before placing it on the baby’s skin. Keep the cloth till it turns cold and repeat the process thrice a day every day for a week. The milk spots will dry and slough off themselves. Sometimes, it might take more than a week. Make sure the water is not so hot that it burns your baby’s delicate facial skin.
  • You can also try slowly rubbing home-made scrub on your baby’s faceTo make this scrub, soak almonds in water for almost three to four hours and grind it after adding a little milk to make a smooth paste. Try scrubbing this gently on the spots and you might see a difference.

Remember to get it checked with your doctor before proceeding with any home remedies or other treatment options.

Milia Prevention

You can’t prevent milia in a can only ensure that it does not irritate the baby’s skin any further by treating it.

When to Consult the Doctor for Milia in Your Child

Milia are not contagious and don’t irritate your baby. But if you notice the spots spreading, or the skin around it is inflamed or painful, then consult your doctor. If you are concerned with the complexion of the baby or the milk spots not disappearing within three months, you can get it checked sooner.

Benign eruption milia are usually not a cause of concern. However, if you are worried, do consult a doctor for a remedy.