For as long as I can remember I have had a problem with facial milia. A milium is a small white bump under the skin that usually occurs around the cheek and eye area. When there is more than one, they are referred to as milia. Milia occur when keratin gets trapped under the skin. Being keratin, the bumps are quite hard and cannot be removed like pimple. To remove a milium, the surface of the skin must be cut so that the milium can be removed as a whole, which is why it is best to get them removed by a professional. When I looked in to the options for milia removal, I decided that the laser milia removal option was best for me. I call it laser milia removal but really it is called thermocoagulation. I researched all the places in Melbourne that were offering laser milia removal, and decided to go with the Laser Skin and Wellness Clinic Chadstone. I approached the clinic with my idea to do a blog post on my milia removal, and in exchange they gave me a 50% discount on a combined facial and milia removal session. As with every other blog post, this will be my honest opinion and is not affected in any way by the discount I was given. I am happy to say that I had a great experience with Kat at Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone and plan on going back in future. I took progress photos of my healing after the removal process so that you can see the results for yourself. It is a long blog post today, as I wanted to answer any possible question you might have, but if I have missed anything, just leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.
Just quickly, I want to say sorry for the blogging break, life has not been easy lately. I have been writing this blog post for a long time now, but Murphy’s Law has not been playing nice, so everything that could go wrong, went wrong, from my laptop breaking, to many illnesses and photo editing mayhem. I wrote about some of my life struggles in my previous post called Life Update, but unfortunately even more happened after that. It’s ok though, I’m still plodding along. This is my first post back as it’s something I really want to share with you all, but I have lots of things that will be coming to the blog soon. For now though, lets talk about milia.
What Is Milia?
Milia are benign, raised, white bumps on the skin that commonly occur around the eyes and cheeks but can appear anywhere on the body – some people think they look like a pearl trapped under the skin. I have seen people refer to them as milk spots and even baby acne but milia is the correct term to use. People often mistake milia for a pimple and try to squeeze or pop the small bump, but with no success. The trauma of squeezing the skin will cause it to swell and go red for a short period of time, but once that has eased, the milia will look exactly as it did beforehand. To remove a milium, the surface of the skin must be nicked so that the hard keratin ball can be popped out. I do want to quickly note here that milia and styes are not the same thing at all, I have had a couple of people ask about styes when I’m discussing milia in person, but they require very different treatment methods. A stye is an infected oil gland on the edge of the eyelid. You should go see your GP if you have a stye that develops. Milia can occur along the lash line too but they look distinctly different to styes. For some people, Milia will resolve by themselves within weeks or months. That hasn’t been the case for me, my milia tend to stay around for years at a time, so I need professional help to get rid of mine. I have seen people encourage others to attempt to remove their milia at home but milia removal requires putting a sharp object near your face and eyes, so it really is best to go to a professional for help. There are also so many different skin conditions out there, many that can appear similar even though they require completely different treatments. Kat from Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone was really knowledgeable about milia and skin problems in general. When I went in I was worried I that I had a whole lot of milia lying under the surface of my skin just waiting to pop up, but it turns out they are actually something completely different. I have small white dots that sit in my tear troughs and around my eyes that I thought resembled milia but they’re not raised or hard and are actually called Sebaceous Hyperplasia. So even with all my research, I was still able to confuse another condition as being milia so it really is best to see a professional for any skin problem, that’s what they’re there for.
In my case, milia cannot be completely prevented but there are certain steps that can be taken to minimise the chances of getting them. Thick face creams, prolonged sun damage, some skin conditions as well as genetics can make you more prone to getting milia. The main cause of milia is using skin care products that are too heavy. Some people even find that their hair care products can also be the cause of milia on the forehead. Thick face creams can prevent natural exfoliation from occurring which will increase the chances of milia arising. Re-evaluate your skin care routine and ensure that you’re not putting any heavy creams on areas where you are prone to getting milia. You also need to stop doing anything that could impede the skins natural exfoliation process, like sleeping on the side of your face. Most of my milia appear on the left side of my face, which I never sleep on or do anything to, so sometimes you just won’t find a reason for it. The next step is to ensure that you include an AHA or BHA in your skincare routine which will encourage the skins natural exfoliation process allowing any trapped dirt/skin cells/sebum to be effectively eliminated from the skin. Kat from Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone recommends using a cleanser, moisturiser and exfoliant that are of cosmeceutical quality as there are no parabens or fillers within the product that can clog pores. She also says to include vitamins A, B and C in your skincare routine to give optimal skin health. I have been able to greatly reduce the amount of new milia that pop up by only using an AHA (reviewed here) around my eyes and no moisturising product at all, but it still doesn’t completely eliminate milia for me. I do really want to include a light eye cream around my eyes, as I think it is an important part of an anti-ageing skincare routine but it will mean that I will need to increase the amount of laser removal sessions I get.
I wanted to ensure that I had all the information I needed to be able to chose the right clinic to help remove my milia, so I did a lot of research. That research led me to the process of laser milia removal. I read lots of information on it and watched YouTube videos to see how the process worked. I knew that the bigger milia on my cheek could easily be treated by the typical removal process of using a sharp blade to cut the surface of the skin, but some of the tiny milia on my eyelash line would not be able to be treated with that method. The laser however has such a precise point of application that it could be used on even the tiniest of milia. The milia on my cheek were the most noticeable, especially when wearing highlighter as that just exaggerated the texture they created. My eyelid milia however, are barely noticeable to the naked eye, but they seem to press on the eyelash hair follicles and cause the closest eyelashes to fall out, so I really wanted a removal method that could also address those. As I mentioned previously, the correct terminology to use for laser milia removal is thermocoagulation. Kat explains thermocoagulation as “we use combination of high frequency and radio frequency to effectively treat milia and other skin irregularities”.
Once I had decided on the method I wanted to use to remove my milia, I looked in to places that provided it. After speaking to multiple dermatologists and beauty salons, I decided the Laser Skin and Wellness Clinic in Chadstone was the place I wanted to go to. They offer milia removal by itself or at a discounted price when done in conjunction with a facial. I decided to also get the facial as it was the middle of winter and I was struggling with slight skin dryness and peeling. I had only ever had one facial before this (many years ago at another clinic) and I have to say, it was underwhelming. Many people rave about facials so I knew I needed to try it again to see if my first experience was the norm or not. Thankfully, my whole experience with Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone was amazing, the facial was so relaxing and it did really help to get my skin on track so that I could maintain it back at home. Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone use Medik8 Cosmeceuticals in their treatments and also sell the products for customers to buy. I emailed Medik8 to ask about their cruelty free status and they assured me they are cruelty free. None of their products or ingredients are tested on animals and they ensure that they do not buy from companies that test anything on animals. They don’t sell in China and the whole range is vegan except for one product that contains Silk Serica (produced by silk worms), which is the Ultimate Recovery (a post-treatment moisturiser). The facial I had with these products was lovely and I’m even looking in to their retinol products as I’ve been wanting to start using one but have struggled to find any from a cruelty free brand I trust. The combination of good products and a great beauty therapist (I really cannot rave about Kat enough), made my whole experience really good.
After the facial I had the my milia removed with via micro-thermocoagulation. The process is surprisingly quick, it was only a few seconds for the small milia and not much longer for the larger ones. The process involves the beauty therapist gently tapping the milia until it has dried out. Each tap does create a small amount of pain but I found it more of a shock than being particularly painful. I’m really not sure where my pain tolerance lies on the spectrum, but the pain associated with the treatment was nowhere near enough to deter me from doing it again. The thermocoagulation treatment dries out the Milia so that they then scab over. The scabs are only the size of the milium they cover and fell off after about a week. The area then remained red as it healed for two weeks. I needed to apply powder antiseptic twice daily while the scabs were there to prevent infection. I couldn’t get the scabs wet or apply any products to the area for 24 hours after the treatment. I stayed away from makeup for most of the healing process, only using mineral makeup that I was testing (and you will see reviews of soon) after the areas had mostly healed (only slight redness remained). I didn’t want anything to affect the healing process or change the look of the scabs in any way, as I wanted to show you how they really looked in the progress photos. The pamphlets I looked at about the procedure said that it could take 2-3 sessions to get rid of the milia, but most of the milia were completely gone once the scabs fell off. There was one under my eye close to my lash line that was not completely gone after the scab fell off, but once the redness has disappeared, I went back to my treatment with AHA’s and it diminished in size. After treatment it did appear to be closer to the skin surface than it was prior to treatment which probably helped the AHA work better on it. The biggest milium I had was gone when the scab fell off but it did leave a very slight indentation in the skin. It was only noticeable when I looked at the skin very closely and it went away after I was able to restart my whole skin routine with AHA’s. The milia on my upper eyelid right on my lash line appeared to be bigger for a week or so after the scab fell off but then they reduced in size dramatically. I can just slightly see them now, but they are much smaller and no longer impact my eyelash growth like they were once doing.
When I was researching milia and the healing process I searched everywhere for information on the depth of milia but couldn’t find anything. In my experience, some of my milia are closer to the surface of the skin and those are the ones that I have been able to treat with exfoliants successfully, whereas the majority of my milia seem to sit under a thicker layer of skin and are very resistant to treatment. All the milia I had treated were the stubborn sort that I couldn’t get rid of myself, even after years of trying for some of them. Once the scabs had fallen off after treatment, the milia that were still there seemed to be smaller and much closer to the surface of the skin, and therefore were much easier to treat with exfoliants. I could have easily gone back for a second session and had those milia treated again, but I wanted to see how the treated milia responded to exfoliation. I have absolutely no scientific backing to tell you that the treatment did make the milia easier to treat with exfoliants, but that is certainly what I experienced. I spent so much time trying to find out about the depths of milia, with absolutely no luck, so I turned to Kat from Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone and she was able to tell me that milia vary in size from large to small and so does the skin that covers it. She said that “sometimes the epidermal layer of the skin is thicker and thus more difficult to remove the milia purely from exfoliation and that’s when you are required to take a a different action of method for successful removal”. It’s good to know I wasn’t crazy all those times I thought some milia were easier to treat than others.
I tried to get photos of the whole healing process. I used a Sony A5100 with a macro lens attached but it was still difficult to get the camera to focus on such tiny points. I also moved house during the healing period so I couldn’t get consistent lighting for the photos, but I hope they are still good enough to see the whole process. I have very fair skin so it is difficult to see them in the before photo, the position of each milia is more evident when the scabs are visible. They were much more apparent when wearing makeup, especially a highlighter, which is why I wanted to get them treated. The largest milum, just under my eye was the one which was treated for the longest and completely disappeared when the scab fell off. The eyelid milia were treated for the least amount of time as the skin is very thin and fragile there. There did not disappear from treatment but the tiny ones on the lash line now no longer impede on the eyelash growth.
Two milia appear under the left corner of my left eye and one further back on the cheek bone. One larger milium appears on the eyelid but the two smallest ones right on the lash line are the ones impeding eyelash growth.
Day Of Treatment
The treatment was slightly painful but more of a shock. The Milia under my eye have turned white and started the scabbing process. My eyelid is very red from the procedure but went away within a day.
4 Days Later
The cheek milia appear red from the scabbing but the lid milia only have a small amount of dry skin on top.
10 Days Later
The scabs have fallen off and only a small amount of redness remains.
2 Months Later
The biggest under eye milium (that I have had for many years) is completely gone as is the one further back on my cheek. The smaller under eye milium is still there but much smaller than it was before treatment. It responded much better to AHA’s post treatment. The milia on my eyelid are still there but aren’t affecting the eyelash growth like they were before treatment. The largest milium was the only one that was easily visible to the naked eye, which is gone now. The current milia that are left are very hard to see close up, let alone from a distance.
I do a lot to prevent milia from occurring but for some reason (probably genetics), I can’t completely prevent them. That means laser milia treatment will probably be something I have to do for the rest of my life. Milia aren’t at all harmful, so they don’t need to be removed, but mine will stay around forever without professional intervention, so I will get them treated on a fairly regular basis. If there is something that I have missed capturing in this process, I can do it again with my next treatment if there is something in particular you want to see. I will go and get the tiny milia that remain retreated soon, and I will also get the milium that is on the boarder of my lip line treated too. I didn’t bother getting my lip milium done last time as it isn’t visible and doesn’t affect me in any way, but if I’m getting the others done, I may as well do it too. So if you want to know anything about treatment of that one, just ask. Overall, I am really happy with the results. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photographs but the remaining milia are much less visible than pre-treatment. My main aim of having this done was to get rid of the longest standing and largest milium and stop the tiny milia on the eye lash line from affecting eyelash growth, and it achieved both of those. I think all milia will be completely gone with another treatment but I can update you on that if you want to know. The price for just Milia removal at Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone is $69, much cheaper than any dermatologist quoted me, but it’s better still if you combine it with a facial. A facial alone is $159 but there is an ongoing promotion that brings the price down to $129, and milia removal is an extra $10 when added to a facial. $140 for a facial and milia removal is a great deal compared to the hundreds of dollars for milia removal I had been quoted at a dermatologist.
I am so glad I went to Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone to have my milia treated. The thermocoagulation method of removal works really well and doesn’t create scarring or long term marks on the skin. The majority of my milia were gone with the one treatment and the ones that weren’t responded well to at-home exfoliation. The process is slightly painful but it really isn’t that bad, it was more of a shock than anything. My whole experience with Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone has been amazing. The facial was so nice, but more than that, the customer service was fantastic. Kat was so kind throughout the whole process (even to my many email questions) and was always really knowledgeable. I learnt a lot from just one session with her, and I plan on going back for more. One thing to remember if you do go to this clinic in Chadstone is to look up where it is located on a map before you go – It is tucked away behind shops, but that does make for a more relaxed environment. Laser Skin and Wellness Chadstone offer a range of treatments which include dermal needling, medi peels, IPL photo facials, enzymatic peels and lots more – I’m particularly interested in the dermal needling but I need to look in to it a lot more. I spend a lot of time each day on my skincare so it can be frustrating when things like milia don’t respond. My next skincare aim is to find a treatment that will help reduce the very large pores on and around my nose, and see if there is any procedure to help get rosacea under control, if I manage to find a treatment for either of those I will certainly write about it for you. If you have any questions about my milia removal process, please just ask. I have spent a long time putting this post together, so I hope it’s helpful to you. And don’t forget you can sign up to email updates to get all my new blog posts straight to your inbox so that you’re always in the loop.