What are those small white bumps on your skin?

What are those small white bumps on your skin?

Many women can probably empathise with this familiar situation: No matter how hard or how often you scrub your face, you're still left with an uneven complexion broken up by different types of small white bumps. You've read that it could be due to several different causes, so here, we clear things up for you.

Not all white bumps are the same

In most cases, small white bumps on your face will be either whiteheads or milia. These two terms may be thrown around interchangeably, but in reality, they're quite different.

Milia are small, raised lumps that don't hurt and appear in small clusters. They aren't typically inflamed, and contrary to popular belief, aren't infections or blocked pores. So, that means all the skincare products you're slapping on this area won't have any effect.

Whiteheads, on the other hand, are a type of acne. They manifest on your skin when dead cells, oils and dirt are trapped in your pores, leading to a swollen red bump with a white-yellow centre. It's usually pus that's contributing to the look of it, and can be quite painful. Sometimes, carefully popping it with a needle (not your fingernails, which can damage the surrounding skin) will relieve the pressure, but should always be done with great caution.

You'll find whiteheads around areas where you are prone to acne, whereas milia tend to crop up around your eyes and the apples of your cheeks.

Battling the bumps

Milia can be more difficult to tackle. Typically, they can work themselves out of your skin, but this process can take months. If the bumps are raised enough, you can carefully use a needle to prick a hole, and squeeze the hard lump out, but this can cause trauma to the skin and sometimes, milia on your skin may be too small to do this. Instead, you can easily cover them with a good foundation or concealer.

It's usually genetics that determines who gets milia and who doesn't. It's not a serious skin problem, but if you are looking to rid your complexion of them, retinoids are the way to go. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are an infection. This means that they can be targeted through the normal steps you'd take in the case of an outbreak. Skincare products with AHAs and BHAs can remove the buildup of excess oils on your skin that's causing whiteheads and other pimples.

To hasten your skin's process of combating whiteheads, you can come into our Melbourne-based clinic for a Purity Peel - it's targeted to treat oily, congested skin with both AHAs and BHAs. To remove milia, we offer a steam and extraction skin treatment to leave you with a clarified face at the end of the day.

You'll be pleased to know that these aren't typically hard-to-treat problems. Contact our team of skin technicians for more information.