Often, there have been complaints of small, white bumps under the eyes, with people unable to comprehend what they are. One gets perplexed as to how to get rid of milia. In this article, I will define these bumps and explain numerous ways to remove them.

What Are White Bumps?

These white bumps are medically described as milia. Milia are multiple, small, hard, keratin ( a newborn strong protein found in skin, hair and nails)- filled cysts that form as a result of dead skin cells trapped underneath the skin surface; clogging the pores present there.

They are usually 1-2 millimeters in size and white in color. These white bumps under the eye are usually painless and harmless in nature. But, they cause discomfort as they tend to alter the aesthetic appeal of one’s face.

Types of milia:

Milia can be classified into two main types:

i) Primary: 

Occurs due to the poor shedding of dead skin cells (seen mostly in infants)

ii) Secondary: 

Occurs when a skin infection/injury leads to the formation of blisters and destroys pore lining.

Milia can be further classified into the following:

i) Neonatal Milia:

Milia a newborn babies

ii) Primary Milia:

Milia caused by trapped keratin beneath the person’s skin.

iii) Juvenile Milia:

Milia caused by genetic conditions (Gardner syndrome, basal cell nevus syndrome)

iv) Milia en plaque:

Milia associated to autoimmune diseases

v) Multiple Eruptive Milia:

Milia with an accompanied itch

vi) Traumatic Milia:

Milia due to injury to skin

vii) Milia associated with drugs:

Due to excess usage of a drug (ex: steroid cream)

Epidemiology (Who Is Affected By These White Bumps Under The Eyes)?

Although they can occur to people of any age and sex, it mostly affects infants. It is estimated that roughly half of all infants suffer from milia.

Why Do These Bumps Occur?

The main reason behind the formation of Primary Milia is the following:

Improper removal of dead skin cells ->clogging up of pores with dead skin cells -> Milia.

Here are a few important and common reasons for the formation of primary milia:

i) Improper exfoliation (natural or otherwise) (mainly shown in infants).

ii) Prolonged unprotected sun exposure.

iii) Long-term use of heavy, clogging skin care products.

iv) Prolonged use of steroid creams.

v) Procedures that alter the skin surface like dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.

On the other hand, Secondary Milia occurs due to injuries (burns or rashes). These injuries result in blistering of the skin and destruction of the pore lining. Diseases like porphyria cutaneatarda can also cause blistering. This can also lead to the formation of secondary milia.

When Do These White Bumps Under The Eye Tend To Occur?

When Do These White Bumps Under The Eye Tend To Occur

As mentioned above, they can affect anyone from all age groups. In infants, milia are present at birth and are not something that appears after a few days of delivery. In adults, they develop when a person gets exposed to any of the conditions mentioned above.

Where Do These White Bumps Occur Most Often?

They occur the most often in the following places, but are not limited to:

  • Under the eyes
  • Nose
  • Chin
  • Cheeks
  • Neck
  • Back of hands

Investigation

The diagnosis of these white bumps can be made by its clinical appearance. Only rare types of milia, like milia en plaque, need a biopsy to confirm its diagnosis.

Care and Management

Methods to remove these white bumps under the eye can be divided into two major sections: Invasive (Lancing) and Non-Invasive Methods 

Some Easy Precautionary Measures While Dealing With Milia:

i) Keep the affected area clean by cleaning it many times a day

ii) Use a proper exfoliating product (may be an exfoliating moisturizer) (Recommended containing: salicylic acid). This helps because the epidermal layer remains thin; preventing the formation of these cysts.

iii) Protect your skin against the harsh rays of the sun

iv) Avoid using cosmetics and creams (at least the heavy, cloggy ones)

v) Drink lots of water, juices and herbal teas (green tea). This aims at detoxifying the body naturally.

Statutory Warning: Do not scratch away or try to pop the white bumps under the eyes, it will only lead to more irritation

This is because:

i) They do not have openings through which we can pop them and remove their contents.

ii) They are not present on the epidermis

Non-Invasive Methods

White bumps under the eyes are a common problem that affects many people from various regions of the world. Due to this, there are a number of remedies that can be found in one’s home to help with this problem.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of White Bumps Under The Eyes

1. Honey To Milia

Honey To Treat Milia

Honey has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are basically substances that remove oxidizing agents which can harm the body. They help in removing the impurities from the body.

This property helps with the bumps as it reduces the impurities present in that region. It prevents the clogging up of pores.

Method:

i) Spread honey on the area affected

ii) Leave for it to dry (approximately 15 minutes)

iii) Wash off the honey

iv) Repeat daily till results are visible

2. Honey and Jojoba Oil To Treat White Bumps

Honey and Jojoba Oil To Treat White Bumps
Honey and Jojoba Oil To Treat White Bumps

Honey and Jojoba Oil are great antioxidants.

Method:

i) Add 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

ii)  Apply it onto face

iii) Let it dry (Approximately 15-20 minutes)

iv) Wash it off

v) Repeat for a few times a week (3-4 times) till the desired effect

3. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes
Tea Tree Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes

Tea tree oil is beneficial because of its antibacterial properties. It also has the property to dry the white bumps under the eyes. The antibacterial property is because of the presence of terpenes in tea tree oil. This helps in cleansing the pores that are clogged up with dead cells.

Also, this oil can pierce through the blockages that are present between your skin and sebaceous glands. It then dries out these regions, causing the disappearance of these white bumps.

Method:

i) Clean region affected

ii) Dab tea tree oil on the affected area at night daily

iii) Rinse in the morning

iv) Continue daily till you achieve your desired outcome

4. Castor Oil

Castrol Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes
Castrol Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes

Castor oil also acts as an antibacterial substance. This can help in removing the dirt present in the clogged up pores of the skin. Due to this property, castor oil application can help in improving the white bumps under the eyes.

Method:

i) You can apply half a teaspoon of castor oil onto the affected area

ii) Let the injured area soak the oil in

iii) Repeat till results appear.

5. Castor Oil + Olive Oil

Prepare the concoction of castor oil and olive oil and apply on the area.

6. Rose Water

Rose water is a natural product that helps remove dirt and dust from the skin. It is due to this property that it can aid in unclogging the pores and benefitting patients suffering from milia. Rose water is the perfect cleansing agent to use.

Method:

i) Dab cotton filled with rose water onto the affected area

ii) Do it many times a day to get the desired result.

7. Rose Water + Sandalwood

Castrol Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes
Castrol Oil To Cure Bags Under Eyes

Since rose water and sandalwood are both amazing cleansing agents. Its mixture removes oil and dirt present in the cysts, thereby helping to improve the condition.

How to prepare and use the mixture?

i) Add 2 tablespoons of sandalwood powder to rose water to make a thick, smooth paste.

ii) Spread this paste evenly on the region affected

iii) Leave to dry (approximately 15 minutes)

iv) Wash with water

8. Cornstarch and Vinegar (Preferable: Apple Cider Vinegar)

Cornstarch absorbs the excess oils present in the skin’s pores.

Vinegar is an astringent. Astringent is a substance that causes contraction of skin cells in the region applied. It is also used to make the skin less oily, thereby helping improve the white bumps.

How to make the mixture

i) Add cornstarch to one 1 teaspoon of vinegar and make a paste

ii) Apply on affected area

iii) Leave to dry (20-30 minutes)

iv) Remove with cloth soaked in warm water

v) Rinse skin

vi)  Repeat daily till desired results appear.

9. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera helps treat white bumps under the eyes because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Since aloe vera is anti-inflammatory, it can cause a reduction in the size of the cysts formed, flattening them out. Aloe vera can also treat the underlying problem of clogged pores by opening them up.

Method:

i) Massage area affected with gel from aloe vera leaf.

ii) Leave overnight

iii) Wash in the morning

iv) Repeat twice daily till desired results appear.

10. Aloe Vera + Green Tea

The combination of equal amounts of aloe vera and green tea can also help with the condition, as both these substances have significant antioxidant properties.

Method:

i) Leave the combination on in the affected area for about 15 minutes.

ii) Rinse

11. Fenugreek Leaves

Fenugreek leaves are popular in Ayurvedic medicine for attacking pimples, acne, etc. They are also helpful with milia. Due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties, fenugreek leaves are effective.

Method:

i) You can grind fenugreek leaves with water.

ii) Spread paste on region affected.

iii) Leave it on to dry (approximately 10-15 minutes).

iv) Repeat till desired effect appear.

12. Try the sugar scrub!

Sugar scrub is also used to get rid of chapped lips. This scrub can work as the perfect exfoliator, thereby preventing any chance of clogged up pores.

Method:

i) Squeeze half a lemon

ii) Mix it with one teaspoon of olive oil

iii) To this mixture, add two teaspoons of granulated sugar

iv) Apply onto the affected area

v) Leave to dry (around 20 minutes)

vi) Wash off with water

vii) Repeat only once or twice a week till desired outcome appears

13. Try Another Sugar Scrub!

i) Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar,   3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

ii) Scrub on skin for several minutes

iii) Rinse

iv) Repeat once/twice a week.

14. Try any natural or chemical peels (Example: Pomegranate Peel Powder)

This peel helps because of its antioxidant and exfoliating properties. It is also rich in Vitamin C.

How to make and use the powder?

i) Roast the pomegranate peels

ii) Crush till it becomes a powder

iii) Mix it with lemon juice

iv) Gently apply on the affected area

v) Remove after it dries

Pomegranate can also be used to get rid of sour stomach.

15. Facial Sauna

The idea behind this method is simply to use a heat to remove the dirt and debris from the pores of your skin.

How to Perform?

i) Take a clean towel

ii) Dab it into hot water

iii) Strain excess water

iv) Place it on the affected area

v) Repeat this many times a day till the desired results appear.

Alternative:

i) Steam face for 10-15 minutes

ii) Apply apple cider vinegar or castor oil after the steaming.

16. Retinol

Retinol is one of the most valuable treatments for this condition. This is because of its exfoliative properties.

Method:

i) Wash face with clean water and dry

ii) Wait for 30 minutes

iii) Apply a drop of retinol on the affected area

Warning: Don’t apply the cream too near to the eye as it may cause damage.

17. Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins like Niacin (B3) and Biotin are helpful for the skin. They maintain the natural texture of skin. They also help develop new skin cells.

This method is not a direct target for improving milia. It’s a general approach to help and improve the skin’s quality to reduce the formation of milia. This method should be used after consulting the doctor.

This multi-faceted approach to improve the unsightly white bumps under the eye will definitely help if followed diligently and with patience.

Now, I will talk about an invasive, yet faster approach to removing milia.

Invasive Methods – Lancing

This approach involves consulting a dermatologist. This is because this procedure requires trained professionals.

Doctor’s approach:

i) The area affected by the bumps will be numbed using a numbing cream. Alternatively, the doctor will use antiseptic to cleanse the area.

ii) The doctor will use a blade to cut the top layer of the bumps.

iii) This will expose the contents within the milia.

iv) A come done extractor will then remove the contents of the milia.

Cryotherapy:

Cryotherapy is applicable when the white bumps are present in a sensitive location. The same method mentioned above applies here too. The difference is, the doctor freezes the affected skin before cutting.

Diathermy:

In this method, the doctor uses extreme heat to destroy the cyst.

Home Remedies Vs Lancing

Non-Invasive Invasive
Takes time and patience Short duration
Use of supplies present at home Medical instruments used with consultation of dermatologist
Does not leave marks Does not leave marks

 

Our Recommendation:

Though both methods have their equal share of pros and cons, the home remedy should be tried out first. Be patient, wait for the results. If the white bumps remain persistent and numerous in number, then approach the doctor for immediate removal. If you want an immediate solution from this problem, then lancing is the best option.

To prevent milia in the future:

i) Change skin care products

ii) Avoid the sun when possible or use proper protection against it

iii) Use proper exfoliators, preferred with salicylic acid

iv) Keep a retinoid cream for use

v) Cleanse the skin many times a day using clean water and dry off with clean towel.

Now you know how to tackle those “white bumps under my eye.”

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