When you’re looking for products to treat milia, look for certain ingredients that can clear the clogged follicles. “Look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide—specifically the 5% formulation is just as effective but less irritating to the skin than higher concentrations),” says Rodney. “Products with salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids are great as well. the most important point to note is that these will not remove your milia overnight, so be patient. Overusing these products or scrubbing the milia will only irritate your skin.”
You can also prioritize ingredients that promote turnover. “Some ingredients can be helpful to prevent milia formation which can include retinoids to help regulate skin-cell turnover, preventing a buildup of dead skin and exfoliating acids to help eliminate dead skin cells,” Garshick says. “In terms of retinoids, it is possible to use over-the-counter retinols, retinol alternatives, and prescription retinoids. In some cases, it may be applied as a spot treatment but often is best when applied all over to prevent new ones from coming.”
You’ll want to avoid products that could make the situation worse—Viscusi recommends staying away from pore-clogging products and heavy creams, especially around the eye area. 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 erase the milia overnight, so patience is key. Be careful not to over scrub or overuse the products.
Ready to try to treat or prevent milia at home? Take a look at these options below.