Have you ever hear of ‘milk spots’?
If not, ask yourself this – have you ever seen someone with small white dots on their face, usually near their eyes? You may have even had these yourself. If so, then you’ve probably seen a milk spot without even realising.
In fact, a lot of us will have milk spots all over our bodies and not even realise what they are. They are often mistaken for spots, with people assuming they contain puss, but that’s not the case.
Below is an image of actual acne. These spots are infected pores, whereas milk spots are under the skin.
So, what are milk spots?
Well, milk spots are little-raised bumps on your skin that just don’t seem to go away. They’re known as “milk spots” because they look like little droplets of milk.
The scientific name for them is milium cysts, we prefer milk spots!
They usually appear near your eyes or on your cheeks/nose in small clusters. They’re nothing like pimples or spots (although it’s hard to tell, so don’t try and squeeze them). The reason you shouldn’t squeeze them is because they are small cysts under the skin – squeezing them won’t work as there is no pore for them to come out of.
Milk spots are usually found on babies but they’re not at all uncommon on adults and they’re nothing to worry about. Up to 40% of newborns will have milk spots.
Many parents wrongly refer to these spots as ‘baby acne’ but this is in fact an inaccurate description of what they really are. Baby acne is caused by the influence of the mother’s hormones, milk spots have a different cause.
They’re not dangerous but some people would still like to know why they appear and how to get rid of them.
The image below shows someone with milk spots on their eyelids. Although it may look as though these would be sore, they are in fact painless.
What causes milk spots?
Milk spots tend to appear when keratin, a protein found in your skin, gets trapped underneath the outer layer of your skin, which results in the white bumps appearing.
Keratin is the same stuff your nails are made from. Your nails are white and fairly tough and so too are the contents of milk spots. In fact, have you ever seen a white mark in the middle of your nails?
Guess, what? It was a milk spot! That’s right, milk spots are visible on the body when the keratin gets trapped near the surface. Additionally, they can appear in your nails following a bump to the nail root. If you happen to whack your nail by accident it’s likely that in a few weeks time you’ll see a white mark on your nail. Why? Well, the bump affected the nail making process that occurs in the nail bed. More keratin was shot out and bingo – white mark on your nail! Cool eh?!
So, milk spots are caused by trapped keratin under the skin. Does that mean anyone can get them? Well, yes in theory anyone can get a milk spot but certain people have a tendency to get them more then others. That’s because milk spots might appear in adults with pre-existing conditions such as burns or blisters, exposure to the sun, steroid creams or repeated skin care procedures, like laser treatments.
So, if you have had a burn to your skin (this could be from the sun) or have used the same skin care products for years at a time it may be time to make a few lifestyle changes.
Removal of milk spots.
Milk spots aren’t dangerous at all and they’re rarely irritating or itchy, so people barely even notice them. The worst that tends to happen is that in people with more raised spots their bedding or clothing rubs against the spots a little causing slight discomfort.
Despite their lack of health warning, some people often feel self-conscious with milk spots so they opt for them to be removed. Milk spots can be removed by laser or surgical procedures. It’s worth considering that milk spots are often caused by damage to the skin, with laser treatments one of the causes. Therefore, using laser treatments to remove your milk spots may see more appearing in the future!
Given that laser treatments may actually make more milk spots appear in the future (and considering that some people can’t afford those treatments and prefer a more natural way of getting rid of them) it’s time to look at alternatives.
Below is a list of remedies that you can make at home to help to treat your milk spots.
Don’t forget though, milk spots won’t budge overnight, some milk spots last for months at a time so added to this list should be a big dose of patience.
1. Fenugreek leaves.
Fenugreek leaves are known for their antiseptic and antioxidant properties and they’re often used to prevent acne outbreaks. If you can get your hands on some, grind them into a paste with some water before spreading the paste on the affected areas and let that settle for 15 minutes.
You can also drink fenugreek tea by putting a small handful of leaves in a mug and adding boiling water. After 5 minutes of stewing, your healing tea is ready.
Apply honey onto your face to moisturise the afflicted areas and provide them with antioxidants. Repeat every day for 15-20 minutes before washing the honey off.
Honey is one of the oldest health products known to man, it has been used for its healing powers for centuries. It’s no surprise really that this food is such a wonder treatment. Honey was found in ancient Egyptian pyramids and remarkably is still edible today, some 5000 years later. Think how quickly most foods go off, it’s nothing short of a miracle that this food preserves for so long and it is certainly beneficial to your skin.
3. Oatmeal scrub.
Face scrubs are a good way to remove the top layers of skin and leave you feeling more refreshed. Unfortunately, many off the shelf scrubs are expensive. They can also be quite harsh too, containing products that are far from natural. Finally (as if you needed any other reason to steer clear), they often contain microbeads – tiny pieces of plastic that end up in the ocean and kill fish.
Oatmeal scrubs can be made at home with ease, for a fraction of the price of a normal scrub and with all natural, eco-friendly ingredients.
Here’s how to make an oatmeal scrub:
Take 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and honey and 3 tablespoons of oatmeal. Mix them up into a face scrub and use it daily to unclog pores and eradicate milk spots.
4. Sugar lemon juice scrub.
Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Scrub your face and let the mixture sit on your skin for 20 minutes before you wash it off. It should unclog your pores as well as eradicate your milk spots.
5. Cornstarch and apple cider vinegar.
Cornstarch absorbs excess skin oils while apple cider vinegar gets into pores and cleans the face. They’ll make a paste when you mix the two together, let it sit on your face for 25 minutes before washing it off.
6. Pomegranate peel powder.
Pomegranate peel is a common ingredient in a lot of skin remedies. When it’s powdered, the peel helps exfoliate and has numerous antioxidant properties that help break up milk spots. To make the powder, roast the peels until they’re brown, then mash them. Add lemon juice for extra skin benefits and rub the powder on your face and leave it for 20 minutes, three times a week.
It’s a very simple method, but it can work. It will unclog your pores and get any crap that’s stuck in there. Soak a towel in hot water and squeeze it out, then set the towel on your face for a few minutes. Repeat the process a few time for best results.
8. Tea tree oil.
This is a great solution for milk spots. It’s very affordable and the antibacterial properties will do great things to your skin. Coat the affected area and give your face a good wash in the morning.
Rubbing tomato all over your milk spots will help them clear up. Sprinkle a bit of sugar in with your tomatoes, which will make it more of an exfoliant and rub it all over your spots. Tomato is rich in vitamin C which will make your skin glow and milk spots vanish in no time. Keep the exfoliating up for about a month.
10. Clay mask.
Clay masks reduce dead skin cells and help reduce the milk spots on your face. It will leave your skin soft and smooth.
Toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps alleviate the symptoms associated with milk spots. If you rub a little bit of toothpaste of the affected area and leave it for 25 minutes. It might take a month or so for your milk spots to disappear but if you keep at it for a month, the results should start to show.
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