Milialar: Tiny Bumps on the Eyelid

Milialar: Tiny Bumps on the Eyelid

Have you ever noticed small, white or yellowish bumps around your eyelids that seem to linger for weeks, if not longer? These tiny bumps, often mistaken for whiteheads or pimples, could be a common yet relatively harmless skin condition called milialar. Milialar (singular: milium) might not be a cause for concern, but understanding its causes, identification, and management can be beneficial for maintaining healthy skin around the delicate eye area.

What are Milialar?

Milialar are small, dome-shaped cysts that typically appear on the skin’s surface. These cysts are made up of keratin, a protein found in the outer layer of the skin, and are often seen in clusters. Unlike whiteheads or pimples, milialar don’t result from trapped dirt, oil, or bacteria in the pores. Instead, they form when dead skin cells get trapped beneath the skin’s surface, leading to the formation of small, raised bumps.

Types of Milialar:

  1. Primary Milia: These are the most common type and often occur in infants. Primary milia may also develop in adults, usually around the eyelids and cheeks.
  2. Secondary Milia: These can develop as a result of injury to the skin, burns, or certain skin conditions such as blistering disorders or long-term use of heavy creams.

Causes of Milia on Eyelids:

Several factors can contribute to the development of milia around the eyelids:

  • Skin Care Products: Using heavy or oil-based skincare products, especially around the eyes, can potentially trap dead skin cells and lead to milia formation.
  • Sun Damage: Excessive sun exposure can cause damage to the skin, leading to milia formation.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing milia.
  • Trauma to the Skin: Injuries to the skin, such as burns or rashes, can result in secondary milia.
  • Certain Skin Conditions: Conditions like bullous pemphigoid or porphyria cutanea tarda can cause secondary milia.

Management and Prevention:

While milia on the eyelids typically do not cause pain or discomfort, many individuals seek ways to manage or prevent their occurrence:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Using a mild exfoliant can help remove dead skin cells and prevent their buildup, reducing the likelihood of milia formation.
  • Avoiding Heavy Eye Creams: Opt for lighter, non-comedogenic eye creams to prevent clogging of the skin around the eyes.
  • Sun Protection: Wearing sunscreen and protective eyewear can prevent sun damage and reduce the risk of milia.
  • Professional Extraction: Dermatologists or skincare professionals can safely extract milia using specialized tools if desired.

When to Seek Medical Advice:

In most cases, milialar on the eyelids resolve on their own without treatment. However, consult a dermatologist if:

  • Milialar are causing discomfort or pain.
  • They increase in size or number rapidly.
  • They appear in conjunction with a skin condition or after a skin injury.


Milialar on the eyelids are generally harmless and often resolve without intervention. However, understanding their causes and taking preventive measures can assist in managing their occurrence. Consulting a dermatologist is advisable for proper diagnosis and guidance on appropriate skincare routines to prevent milia formation and maintain healthy skin around the delicate eye area.

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