August 2021

Milia Seeds 101: Causes, Prevention & Removal | Shens Therapeutics

Have you noticed tiny, white bumps which form just right under your skin that just won’t let up, no matter how hard you squeeze? These bumps probably aren’t ‘white heads’, spots or ‘pimple pustules’, which occasionally pops up and goes away after a good facial treatment. As the title suggests, these tiny and annoying bumps are milia seeds. Summarily, milia seeds aren’t really anything to be too worried about as they’re merely a cosmetic issue—they won’t scar your skin, and they don’t typically lead to additional skin problems.

Despite being a common skin concern, milia seeds can be a little hard to treat (even though milia seeds may look tiny). Henceforth, many concerned individuals may be looking for ways or treatments to get rid of the milia seeds to regain a smooth complexion. Before we delve deeper into the prevention tips and how to remove them effectively, it pays to know what milia seeds are exactly.


What Are Milia Seeds?

Milia seeds are actually tiny cysts that consist of protein in the skin known as keratin. Keratin is a structural protein that makes up our hair, nails and skin. Yes, this is one of the main ingredients that form our skin. Hence, this also means that the keratin that makes up our skin’s outermost layer can build up over time, hardens and becomes trapped beneath the epidermis. Thus, causing bumps on the skin’s surface. 

These keratin-filled bumps tend to be in the range of 1-3 mm in diameter, arising from the outermost layer of the skin, and they are also often found in clusters instead of appearing in solitary. With that, milia seeds are commonly found on the nose, cheeks, eye area, and other body areas prone to sun damage. It is also noted that excessive use of harsh products on the skin and the occurrence of rashes may also increase the chances of milia seeds from forming.

Aside from the above information, do you know that there are two types of milia seeds?


Types of Milia Seeds 

Primary Milia

Primary milia are the most common among the two types of milia seeds, and they can occur spontaneously without a known stimulus. The primary milia seeds are typically connected to the sheath of the hair follicles, which are near the oil glands.

The primary milia are common in newborns, typically found on the face or scalp. They tend to disappear within weeks. In adults, benign primary milia occur spontaneously, often randomly distributed across cheeks and eyelids, and sometimes at the genitalia. While milia found on newborns go away in time, those that develop later in life tend to persist.

It has also been noted that the primary milia seeds can be both spontaneous (with no apparent triggers) or an inherited genetic condition.


Secondary Milia

On the contrary, the secondary milia are induced by various stimuli, typically when the skin undergoes some form of skin trauma such as sun damage, dermabrasion, physical trauma, x-rays, inflammatory skin diseases or topical drugs (e.g. topical steroid, penicillamine, benoxaprofen and cyclosporine.).


How To Prevent Milia Seeds?

Taking into account that we would not be able to prevent primary milia from forming as there are no apparent triggers, we can set our sights to reduce the chances of secondary milia from occurring.

Now that we have looked into some of the causes of ‘common’ causes of the secondary milia, here are some tips on how to minimise the chances of them surfacing:

Exfoliate: There are endless benefits to exfoliating your skin, including minimising hyperpigmentation, banishing blemishes and reducing superficial acne scarring – and seeing as milia are a result of trapped skin cells, exfoliation is brilliant at keeping them from springing up, too.

Use a gentle exfoliant with glycolic acid two or three times a week. This allows the dead skin cells to be removed, resulting in much less build-up.

Use lightweight creams: If cream or lotion is greasy and doesn’t sink in quickly into your skin, it is most likely not suitable for your skin type. Long term use of the product could clog up your pores and cause milia.

Use sunscreen: As mentioned in the earlier segments, sun damages can increase the chances of the occurrence of milia seeds. Hence, the application of sunscreen plays an important role in keeping the milia seeds at bay. 

If you have read our previous article about the amazing benefits of sunscreen, you would have known that it can help protect you from the other harmful effects of UV rays and significantly slow down skin ageing.


How To Remove & Treat Milia Seeds?

While many would say prevention is better than cure. On the other hand, what if you are currently troubled by the annoying keratin white bumps? Removal and other aesthetic treatments would be your best bet.

At Shens Therapeutics, we believe that the safest way to treat milia seeds is to seek help from a professional or consult a dermatologist.

Without further ado, let us explore all the safe options of treating and removing the milia seeds.


Chemical Peel: Superficial peels containing AHAs and BHAs, including glycolic and salicylic acid, provide accelerated, chemical exfoliation without the need to aggressively scrub your skin. The treatment is non-abrasive and only lifts off the outermost top layer of the skin, ensuring your ‘new’ skin is clean and fresh. Following the treatment, fewer dead skin cells also mean that there would be fewer unsightly bumps and a lesser chance for the keratin to be trapped beneath the epidermis.


Shens Therapeutics Recommended Treatment: Renewal Peel



The Renewal Peel gently peels away dull, tired skin to reveal luminosity from within. This skin brightening and rejuvenating facial showcases a gentle but penetrative peel. At Shens Therapeutics, the chemical peel is formulated using the essence of almonds which boost the overall cellular turnover, collagen synthesis and, further, combats pigmentation.



  • Encourages skin regeneration
  • Stimulates collagen synthesis
  • Reduces photo-pigmentation
  • Improves acneic skin and reduce post-acne blemishes
  • Provides skin detox
  • Balances production of sebum and unclogs skin pores
  • Gently exfoliates the skin


This treatment accelerates skin renewal and cellular turnover, revealing your glow from within. Collagen reproduction is stimulated.

This treatment can be applied to any target part of your skin, such as the face, neck, décolletage and hands.


Recommended treatment: Once a month for brilliant results.


Laser Resurfacing (Ablative CO2 Laser): The ablative CO2 laser is one of the simplest and most effective methods to get rid of unsightly milia seeds. During the treatment, the CO2 laser can help to eliminate the white bumps without performing any incision or the use of sutures. It further seals the blood vessels and evaporates the targeted milia seeds tissue.

With that, the CO2 laser ablation is able to treat single or multiple bumps with minimal complications or recurrences.


Bottom Line

Exfoliate, wear sunscreen and stick to moisturisers that suit your skin. The above can greatly reduce the chances of secondary milia from arising. Hence, if you’re seeking professional help for the treatment of milia seeds, feel free to contact our customer support team via our hotline or WhatsApp. 

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