Milia are tiny white bumps that appear across a baby's nose, chin or cheeks. Milia are common in newborns but can occur at any age.
You can't prevent milia. And no treatment is needed because they usually disappear on their own in a few weeks or months.
Milia are most commonly seen on a baby's nose, chin or cheeks, though they may also occur in other areas, such as on the upper trunk and limbs.
Sometimes similar bumps appear on a baby's gums or the roof of the mouth. These are known as Epstein pearls. Some babies also develop baby acne, often characterized by small red bumps and pustules on the cheeks, chin and forehead, which can occur with or without milia.
When to see a doctor
If you're concerned about your baby's complexion or it doesn't clear up within three months, consult your baby's doctor.
Milia develop when tiny skin flakes become trapped in small pockets near the surface of the skin.
If you're following a standard well-check schedule, your baby will likely visit with your family doctor or pediatrician soon. These regular appointments offer a good opportunity to discuss concerns about your baby's health. For milia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is my baby's condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- Are there any treatments available for this condition?
- Do I need to follow any skin care restrictions with my baby?
Milia are easy to see on a baby's skin. No specific testing is needed.
Milia typically disappear on their own within several weeks or months. No medical treatment is recommended.
Try these tips to help your baby's skin look its best:
- Keep your baby's face clean. Wash your baby's face daily with warm water and mild baby soap.
- Dry your baby's face gently. Simply pat your baby's skin dry.
- Don't pinch or scrub the bumps. You may cause more irritation or an infection.
- Avoid using lotions or oils on your baby's face.
June 03, 2015
- Berk DR, et al. Milia: A review and classification. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2008;59:1050.
- Rashes and skin conditions. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Rashes-and-Skin-Conditions.aspx. Accessed March 30, 2015.
- Hay WW, et al. Skin. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 22nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed March 30, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Milia (pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 8, 2015.