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White Spots Under The Eyes: Causes And Effective Treatment Options

White Spots Under The Eyes: Causes And Effective Treatment Options


Have you noticed little white spots around your eyes? Chances are you’re likely encountering milia, a common, benign skin condition. 

These small white spots around your eyes are tiny cysts filled with keratin and are usually not a cause for concern. In this article we will discuss how to identify milia, what are the types of milia, is milia a cause for concern and the treatment options you have available to manage this skin condition effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • What are the white spots under my eyes? The occurrence of white spots below the eyes is primarily milia which are benign, keratin-filled cysts beneath the skin that appear as small white bumps, commonly found around the eyes.
  • There are two types of milia, primary and secondary, with the former often appearing at birth or spontaneously and the latter resulting from skin trauma or damage, sometimes related to medication use.
  • Prevention and treatment for milia include gentle exfoliation, using retinoids, avoiding heavy creams, and professional dermatological procedures like needle extraction, laser ablation, and prescribed retinol creams.

Table of Contents

Identifying Milia

Milia appear as small white or yellowish bumps that resemble tiny pearls on the skin’s surface. They have a distinctive dome shape and may appear in clusters or singularly. It’s important to note that unlike whiteheads or other forms of acne, milia contain no pus and are simply trapped collections of keratin. The term ‘milia’ refers to multiple cysts, while a single lesion is known as a ‘milium’ or ‘milk spot’.

4 Expert Tips To Identify Milia

How to identify Milia quickly and easily…


 Milia are small, white or yellowish bumps on the skin’s surface, resembling tiny whiteheads or cysts. Unlike whiteheads, they lack an opening or pore.


 Milia typically occurs on the face, especially around the eyes, cheeks, and nose. They may also develop on the chest and upper arms.


 Milia feels firm to the touch, like small grains beneath the skin’s surface. They are usually not painful or inflamed unless irritated or infected.


 Milia often persists for weeks, months, or even years if left untreated. Unlike acne, they tend to remain unchanged over time.

Primary Milia And Secondary Milia, What You Need To Know 

Primary milia are benign cysts that usually appear at birth or spontaneously, primarily on various facial areas and the scalp. Secondary milia, however, develop due to skin trauma, sweat gland damage, or certain medications.

Primary Milia

Primary milia are benign, subepidermal keratin cysts that typically appear at birth or arise spontaneously, primarily on the nose, scalp, eyelids, cheeks, gum border, and palate. They often originate from sebaceous collars near hair follicles and can be linked to genetic disorders.

Secondary Milia

Secondary milia, a skin condition, develops as a result of skin trauma, damage to sweat glands, and may be associated with the use of certain medications like chronic topical steroids or long-term steroid application. They often originate from eccrine ducts or epidermal layers and may signify an underlying health issue or response to a previous skin injury.

Is Milia A Serious Skin Condition?

Milia are harmless and benign skin conditions that primarily cause cosmetic concerns. They are not cancerous and do not pose any significant health risks. While milia can be bothersome and affect one’s confidence due to their appearance, they typically do not cause any harm to our health or well-being. However, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your skin or if you experience any changes in the appearance or behaviour of milia.

What Causes Milia?

Milia form when dead skin cells or keratin become trapped beneath the skin surface, often due to the skin’s ineffective shedding of these cells. In adults, milia can be caused by the buildup of dead skin that gets trapped near the surface of the skin due to improper shedding. The use of heavy creams around the eye area can contribute to the development of milia where skin absorption is poor and oil glands are absent.

Lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of developing milia include:

  • Improper skincare
  • Using pore-clogging cosmetics
  • Sun exposure, which can damage the skin and affect its natural exfoliation process, potentially leading to the formation of milia around the sensitive eye area
  • Allergic reactions to harsh facial products

These factors are also known to contribute to the recurrence of multiple eruptive milia.

Safe and Effective Milia Removal Techniques

If your milia is bothering you there are safe and effective removal methods available to you. Milia removal is normally very straightforward with minimal pain and immediate recovery. 

Sterile Needle Extraction 

We offer sterile needle extraction as an effective treatment for milia. This procedure involves our skilled dermatologists delicately using a sterilised needle or lancet to puncture the surface of the skin overlying the milia. The trapped keratin within the milia is gently extracted, to reduce visible signs and promote clearer skin. Following the extraction, the area is thoroughly cleansed, and if necessary, a soothing ointment or antibiotic cream is applied to aid in healing and prevent any potential infection.

Chemical Peels

Our specialised chemical peel treatments utilise potent ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the skin’s surface, aiding in the removal of dead skin cells and unclogging pores. By promoting cell turnover and clearing away debris, our chemical peels work to reduce the appearance of milia, leaving your skin smoother and more radiant.

Are Milia Treatments Safe

Milia treatments are normally very simple and safe for patients. Our experienced dermatologist will assess your milia, and provide you with a detailed treatment plan. You will be advised on possible side effects and recovery time.  

Are Milia Treatments Effective

Milia treatments offered by our experienced professionals are highly effective. With our specialised knowledge and advanced techniques in dermatology, we tailor treatment plans to address the root cause of Milia, ensuring effective removal and prevention of recurrence.


In conclusion, milia are tiny cysts that often appear as white spots around the eyes. They are typically harmless but can become a cosmetic concern for some. Understanding their causes, such as trapped keratin and poor cell turnover, can help in prevention and treatment. 

Professional removal techniques are available for this skin condition, including sterile needle extraction and chemical peels. Milia treatments are normally very straightforward and have low side effects. But we always recommend consulting with a professional dermatologist for your treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The white spots around your eyes are likely milia, tiny cysts caused by harmless buildup of keratin under the skin. Trying to pop them can cause inflammation and scarring, so it's best to allow the pores to clear out the built-up keratin for the milia to go away.

Milia can occur due to various factors such as skin trauma, infection, lifestyle choices like smoking, poor hygiene, or long-term steroid use. It can also arise from the accumulation of dead skin cells due to skin damage or sun exposure.

To prevent milia, gently exfoliate your skin, use retinol and sunscreen, maintain a consistent skincare routine, and avoid heavy, oil-based makeup. These steps can help in minimising the occurrence of milia on your skin.

Milia treatments at Aventus Clinic start from £195, which includes your skin assessment with a professional dermatologist.

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