According to a primary care physician at Carroll Health Group, Dr. G. Panisri Rao, small white bumps on adults and newborn’s body or face should not be mistaken for acne. In fact, the bumps are the result of keratin getting trapped beneath the skin’s surface. Keratin is a protein that plays a huge role in keeping the skin healthy and can also be found in the nails and hair.
Milium (singular) can occur at any age, but are more common in newborns. However, milia should not be confused with neonatal acne and many physicians cannot differentiate between the two. There are several types of milia, including neonatal, primary milia in adults and children, juvenile, milia en plaque, traumatic milia, drug-induced milia and multiple eruptive milia.
The cause of milia is not clear and they can appear in a single or cluster or bumps. Whereas, neonatal acne is the result of maternal hormones, but they are not pimples and often disappear after of few weeks of birth. Unlike acne, milium does not cause swelling or inflammation and do not appear until the infant is a few weeks old.
Treatment is not required in infants, children and adults, but in some cases the milia must be deroofed, utilizing a sterile needle to pluck the contents out of cysts. The condition can also be treated with retinoids or topical medications, laser ablation, chemical peels, destruction curettage, surgical scraping and cauterization, diathermy, utilizing extreme heat to eradicate the cyst and cryotherapy, the most common method that utilizes a freezing agent to destroy the cyst.
It is a rarity for milia to become infected and irritated until they are traumatic milia, which is caused by an injury to the skin, such as specific health conditions and a burn and rashes. Thankfully, traumatic milia do not typically or cause long-term issues.
A newborn should not be bathed no more than three times per week. Overexposure to water, washes, shampoos and soaps can cause the skin to become dry and irritated. Hypoallergenic soaps are best for avoiding skin problems in both infants, children, teens and adults.