When looking for products to treat milia, look for certain ingredients that can clear out clogged follicles. “Look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide – in particular, the 5% formulation is just as effective but less irritating to the skin than higher concentrations),” says Rodney. “Products containing salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids are also excellent. The most important point to note is that they will not remove your milia overnight, so be patient. Excessive use of these products or rubbing the milia will only irritate your skin.”
You can also favor ingredients that promote rolling. “Certain ingredients may be helpful in preventing milia formation, including retinoids to help regulate skin cell turnover, prevent dead skin buildup, and exfoliating acids to help slough off dead skin cells,” explains Garshick. “When it comes to retinoids, over-the-counter retinols, retinol alternatives, and prescription retinoids can be used. In some cases, it can be applied as a spot treatment, but often it’s best to apply everywhere to prevent new ones from coming.”
You will want to avoid products that could make the situation worse. Viscusi recommends staying away from pore-clogging products and heavy creams, especially around the eyes. Jenny Liu, MD, FAAD, says consistent use is key here, but she doesn’t recommend using all of these ingredients at once. “Avoid areas like the eyelid, neck and lips, which can cause irritation,” she adds.
And don’t overdo the treatment — these products won’t clear milia overnight, so patience is key. Be careful not to over-scrub or overuse the products.
Ready to try treating or preventing milia at home? Take a look at these options below.