Are small bumps on your face becoming a cause for worry? You may be facing a condition called Milia. These are small cysts that form when dead skin flakes get trapped in a sweat pore or hair follicle under the skin.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says, “Skin reflects the state of the internal environment of our body. A perfectly harmonised state of metabolism, hormones and psychological health often establish as problem-free radiant skin.”
Scroll down for a complete understanding of milia and simple Ayurvedic and home remedies that can prevent its recurrence, to give you that radiant skin.
Causes & Symptoms Of Small Bumps On Face
Small bumps on the face which are clinically referred to as Milia , are caused when keratin flakes or dead skin flakes build up under the skin, forming cysts. Usually these are tiny, being around 1- 2 mm in size and benign (non-cancerous) in nature.
Milia are not acne or pimples. Often confused with the other, milia is commonly found in babies (unlike acne) and also in children and adults. When dead skin cells cannot reach the skin’s upper surface and be removed in the natural process, they get trapped in the pores leading to milia. This condition commonly occurs on the cheeks, eyelids, chin area and over the nose. These can appear in other parts of the body as well.
According to Ayurveda, ‘Kshudra Kushtha’  or minor skin conditions occur due to a Dosha imbalance in the body. The bodily functions work smoothly when the three life energies or Tridoshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are in harmony. The aggravation of a Dosha can disrupt the natural balance of your body causing various diseases including skin problems.
Milia also falls under ‘Kshudra Kushtha’ and can be due to a Vata Pitta Dosha imbalance. A Vata Pitta aggravation increases dryness and heat in the body, thus increasing the chances of skin damage and skin problems. Sometimes even the ‘Rakta Dhatu’ or blood tissue gets involved to further vitiate the condition.
Consult your Ayurvedic doctor to get your Prakriti or body constitution determined to receive the perfect Ayurvedic remedy to calm your Dosha imbalance.
Causes Of Milia On The Face
1. Milia may occur due to trapped keratin flakes in the sweat pores under the epidermis or upper layer of the skin.
2. May occur at the site of injury where the skin is still healing.
3. May occur as a secondary symptom of another skin disease.
4. May be caused as a reaction to topical medicine.
5. Can be a result of sun damage of the skin or photoaging.
Symptoms Of Milia On The Face
1. Milia does not have any significant symptoms. There is usually no pain, redness or inflammation.
2. Some people may have discomfort due to their occurrence.
3. If bumps on the face are caused by any other skin condition, there are chances of redness, itchiness, swelling and pus formation.
Milia can also result from overuse of heavy skincare products. Thick eye gels that promise to boost your skin health can further clog the fine skin under your eyes and stimulate the occurrence of small bumps in an already milium prone skin.
Types Of Bumps On The Face
Bumps on the face, often referred to as milia, can be broadly classified as Primary Milia and Secondary Milia. The various types of bumps on the face, which differ based on their type and cause, can be classified under the above two heads.
1. Neonatal Milia
Neonatal milia is commonly found in newborn babies. The affected areas involve the bridge of the nose, scalp, inside the mouth, cheeks, and upper limbs. In most cases, this condition disappears within two weeks of birth.
2. Primary Milia
Primary milia can affect both children and adults. It commonly occurs on the nose, over the eyelids, under the eyes, cheeks, and genital area. This is often confused with acne, pimple or whiteheads. Milia in adults may need clinical attention if it persists for a long time.
3. Juvenile Milia
This can occur from a genetic disorder or as a result of other skin diseases in both children and adults.
4. Multiple Eruptive Milia
As the name suggests, groups of milia appear on different parts of the body over a period of time. Areas such as the nose, face, upper limbs are most commonly affected by multiple eruptive milia . This may cause sensitivity and itchiness.
5. Milia En Plaque
Quite common in adult women, milia en plaque appears within a skin plaque or an inflamed patch of skin. The lower back, behind the ears, over the eyelids are common places that get affected by this condition.
6. Secondary Milia or Traumatic Milia
Traumatic milia  forms on a strip of skin that is damaged or is in the process of recovery. Hence, it is found at the site of burns, wounds, rashes, sun damage and areas where the epidermis is still healing. It can also appear as a reaction to topical medication.
How To Get Rid Of Small Bumps On The Face?
A. Natural Methods To Remove Milia
1. Clean and exfoliate the site of milia. Regular cleansing with a mild cleanser and scrub will gradually get rid of the trapped dead skin flakes under the skin. It will also help remove the bumps. Be gentle on the affected area to prevent skin sensitivity.
2. Face steaming during a deep clean can prove to be beneficial. Face steaming after exfoliation, opens up your pores and loosens dead skin cells and oil that may be clogging your skin. Add some neem leaves in the face steam for added medicinal benefits.
3. Apply a soothing skin cream or lotion on the affected area to prevent irritation. Creams that contain Vitamin E and retinol are likely to be more effective.
4. Avoid heavy oil-based skin products as they may worsen the condition. Applying heavy creams to facial areas that have fine skin can block your pores and prevent the natural removal of dead skin cells. As a result oil, dirt, bacteria and dead skin get trapped causing various skin conditions including milia.
5. Protect the affected area from sun exposure. Wear sunscreen whenever you go out. A hat or scarf can provide added protection and prevent further aggravation of the skin condition.
Vedix Tip: Follow up your skincare routine with ‘Face Abhyanga’ or massage with herbal packs for better absorption of the herbal goodness. This will improve blood circulation and cell growth and help in the natural exfoliation of dead skin cells.
B. Home Remedies To Treat Tiny Bumps On The Face
Scrubs and certain face packs made at home with natural ingredients can improve the condition of your skin and gently treat milia on the face. If the tiny bumps have occurred as an allergic reaction to a skin product, stop using the product immediately. Consult a doctor if the condition is not treated by home remedies.
1. Milk, Honey And Rose Water Cleanser
Cleansing with milk is often safe on skin that is sensitive or irritated. The lactic acid in milk gently removes dirt and dead skin cells from the face. It also promotes the growth of new cells and can help in healing the affected area. Milk also acts as a natural moisturizer and has a calming effect on damaged skin.
Honey, being a natural emollient, protects the skin from moisture loss and provides necessary hydration. Adding rose water to this cleanser enhances the cleansing process to better remove the small bumps on the face.
2. Oatmeal And Honey Face Scrub
Oatmeal has earned its name as a wonder scrub. The saponins in oatmeal gently exfoliate and cleanse skin, removing trapped dirt and grime. Using oatmeal scrub on milia can gently remove the keratin flakes trapped inside the epidermis. Honey being a natural moisturizer will prevent the affected area from dryness, keeping your skin soft and supple.
3. Marigold Leaves And Aloe Vera Face Pack
Applying marigold leaves on cuts, wounds and skin rashes is an ancient healing technique. The antiseptic properties of marigold leaves keep the affected area from getting infected. It also soothes the skin surrounding the small bumps on the face, preventing chances of itchiness and irritation.
Aloe vera acts as a natural moisturizer that prevents dryness and calms the affected skin. It is also useful in blocking the harmful rays of the sun and can be used as a substitute for sunscreen.
C. Ayurvedic Remedies To Cure Milia On The Face
Ayurvedic literature extensively deals with ‘Kshudra Kushtha’ or skin disorders. Various herbal remedies and Ayurvedic methods are cited to heal them. Ayurveda believes that skin conditions are caused by problems that are deeply embedded in our bodies. With a holistic approach, remedies not only help to cure the immediate ‘Kushta’ or skin ailments but also prevent recurrence.
The two most effective Ayurvedic therapies to prevent milia on the face are Lepas and the Panchakarma therapy.
Lepas or Ayurvedic Face Packs
1. Neem, Turmeric And Kumari Lepa
Neem is widely used in various Ayurvedic medicines due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. As per medical research, application of neem paste on skin rashes, small bumps, eczema, boils etc. have shown positive results. Neem oil is also used to treat various skin problems. Its anti-inflammatory nature reduces swelling and discomfort in the affected areas of your face.
Turmeric too is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is used in skin conditions which involve bumps and swelling. Kumari or aloe vera has skin soothing properties and is often used on burns, rashes and damaged skin.
How to use:
Grind 10 to 12 neem leaves and add turmeric and aloe vera gel to make a paste. Apply this on the small bumps and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off. Repeat it 2 to 3 times a week.
2. Tulsi, Clove Oil And Yastimadhu Lepa
Tulsi  is a powerful Ayurvedic herb that effectively combats various skin problems such as acne, milia, rashes etc. Its deep cleansing properties help to remove trapped dead skin cells that are often the cause for small bumps on the face. Apart from cleansing, Tulsi is rich in phytonutrient and essential vitamins and minerals that boost your overall skin health. Being an antibacterial herb, Tulsi keeps skin infections at bay.
Eugenol, present in clove oil, is anti-inflammatory in nature, making it a perfect remedy for small bumps, acne and rashes on the skin. Yastimadhu or Licorice is a key ingredient in many herbal remedies that treat skin disorders. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the compound glycyrrhizin, found in yastimadhu, is highly effective against acne, small bumps on the face, eczema and other skin conditions.
How to use:
Apply this face pack 2 to 3 times a week for best results.
3. Gotu Kola And Manjistha Lepa
Gotu kola is now being used in various skin care products for its medicinal and skin benefitting properties. This ancient herb is filled with anti-inflammatory properties which makes it very effective against skin problems, including small bumps on the face. Manjistha is packed with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that act against various skin ailments.
How to use:
Grind the ingredients to make a herbal lepa. Apply it frequently till the problem persists.
The Panchakarma therapy is a purifying technique to cleanse the body of the negative Ama toxins. As per Ayurveda, the presence of Ama can cause various body ailments which include skin disorders. This therapy consists of five purgation methods to detoxify the body. These are Vamana, Virechana, Niroohavasti, Nasya and Anuvasanavasti. The Panchakarma therapy can only be administered by an Ayurvedic doctor at an Ayurvedic centre.
Other Medications To Get Rid Of Milia On The Face
Milia usually does not require treatment unless it persists for a long time. In such cases, the below-mentioned alternative medication may be prescribed by your doctor.
1. Topical Retinol Creams
For stubborn milia that refuse to go, topical retinol creams can be a solution. Retinol is quite effective against tiny bumps on the face and clears the trapped keratin flakes that cause milia. Frequent application of retinol can improve the overall cell turnover of your skin and prevent the recurrence of milia.
2. Chemical Peeling
Chemical peeling done by a professional is also an easy and quick way to remove milia. However, chemical peeling may not be enough to remove the milia, and you might need to combine it with other procedures such as professional extraction. Make sure to consult your doctor before going ahead with any of these procedures.
3. Professional Or Facial Extraction
Professional extraction is the technique of using sterile needles or a lancet to prick the milia in order to remove the keratin flakes trapped within it. Extraction of milia can only be done by a professional or a dermatologist. Do not try it at home as you may risk the chance of an infection or worse, land up with permanent scars on your skin.
How To Prevent Small Bumps On The Face?
Understanding the cause behind your milia may help in its prevention. Since milia is usually caused by an obstruction of a sweat pore by keratin flakes, it is important to keep your skin clean at all times.
1. Follow a simple skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliation and moisturising. This will ensure the removal of dead skin cells and prevent blockage of pores. Do a deep clean once a week to prevent oil and keratin build-up.
2. Wear sunscreen every time you step out. Sun damage is a cause for milia and can be prevented by limiting skin exposure to the sun.
3. Use a skin repairing moisturizer or serum to heal skin that could have undergone trauma or damage. Choose one which is hydrating and contains essential vitamins and retinol to help rejuvenate your skin and keep milia away.
How Long Does It Take For Small Bumps On The Face To Go Away?
Small bumps or milia on the face for babies and children can go away in a few weeks without any medication. However, for adults it is important to determine the cause of milia. Primary milia usually clears away on its own, within a few weeks. But milia caused by a skin disease may last longer and require medical attention.
Dos And Don'ts While Having Small Bumps On The Face
1. Clean and gently exfoliate the skin on your face regularly. This will help in the removal of milia and prevent the small bumps from spreading or coming back. Natural or homemade exfoliators are best as they don’t irritate your skin and improve the overall skin health.
2. Wear sunscreen when you step out. Sun damage usually worsens milia. It also impairs the epidermal barrier and slows down the natural recovery process of your skin.
3. If milia lasts longer than a week or two, seek medical help. In the meantime, resort to safe natural Ayurvedic and home remedies suggested above to keep your skin clean and exfoliated. This will help in the removal of dead skin flakes and remove the milia quickly.
4. Consult your Ayurvedic doctor and apply a herbal face pack or lepa that accelerates the healing process. Herbs such as neem, tulsi, manjistha, turmeric and gotu kola are known to work wonders on skin that is affected by small bumps, acne and eczema.
1. The best way to treat milia is to leave them alone. DIY extraction attempts will only make it worse and irritate the affected area. Don’t frequently touch or prick the milia, as that would increase chances of infection.
2. Don’t over-exfoliate. Use gentle exfoliators to remove dead skin cells that will help improve the condition of your skin. Over-exfoliation with harsh agents may irritate and further damage your skin, causing more harm. If you wish to exfoliate with Salicylic Acid, consult your skin doctor first to check if it will suit your skin.
3. Limit use of make-up products. We know milia gives you a textured appearance and you want to cover it up. But constant application of concealers and foundations will further block those pores and prevent natural exfoliation that remove dead skin cells from your face.
The Last Word
Small bumps on the face or milia are common skin conditions that affect both children and adults. Generally these tiny bumps disappear on their own, with very little care or medical attention. Unlike acne, milia does not itch, pain or cause any discomfort. So regular exfoliation, application of the herbal packs mentioned above and retinol creams prescribed by a doctor should take care of your milia problem easily.Know Your Dosha Now
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