Last reviewed 01/2018

Milia are small (1-2 mm) whitish yellow papules that frequently occur over the nose and face, but may also arise in areas of previously damaged skin, usually following blisters. They are believed to originate from maldeveloped sweat or sebaceous glands.

They are common and transient in the newborn. In later life they are more common in females and may be confused with xanthelasma around the eyes.

They usually rupture on the skin surface and disappear within a few weeks of birth.

When on the palate they are called Epstein's pearls.

Click here for an example image of this condition


  • treatment is not necessary
  • spontaneous disappearance occurs in the majority

In adults the surface of the milia can be broken (eg with a sterile needle or the point of a blade), and the contents squeezed out. The careful use of cryotherapy or diathermy can also be effective