What Are Milk Spots?

You may have wondered what milk spots are and what causes them? Milk spots often happen to infants, but they can even occur in adults. The worst part is that they usually appear on the face, where you will not want to see them. So, what are they, and how do you treat them?

A milk spot is a small white bump that appears on the skin and sometimes resembles a whitehead. However, these are simply small cysts that contain keratin. These hard white balls arise from dead skin cells clumped together under the skin. You may have seen them on babies quite often. The keratin flakes form milk spots when they trap under the skin.

What are Milk Spots?

Milk spots, also called milia, appear as white bumps on the skin. It is most common to find milk spots in infants, but they may also occur in adults. 

But the good news is that these are not tumours; instead, they are cysts containing keratin. They are formed by dead skin cells that clump together under the skin’s surface.

What Are the Symptoms of Milk Spots?

A milk spot is a small white or yellow bump that forms on the skin. Milk spots rarely itch or hurt. Some people, however, experience discomfort from them. 

Milia may become irritated and red if exposed to rough bedding or clothing. It usually appears on the face and cheeks. It is also possible to see them on the torso and in the genital area of the body.

Many people confuse them with Epstein pearls, a similar condition. During this condition, young children develop white, yellow cysts on their gums and mouths.

What Are the Causes of Milk Spots?

When the keratin flakes trap under the skin, they form milk spots. The protein keratin is an essential component of the skin. Keratin is a protein that helps maintain your skin’s rigidity and functions as a protective barrier. 

As a result, when they become trapped inside pores, they form milia, a pearly bump. The milk spots occur when there is some reason for the skin not to expel the keratin flakes. 

It usually results from overexposure to the sun in the case of adults. Thus, the skin is unable to remove the keratin flakes. Milk spots can also occur due to blistering, which prevents the skin from naturally exfoliating.

Why Do Babies Get Milk Spots?

There are many reasons why a baby can develop milk spots. You might have noticed that the child’s skin still needs to develop, so this build-up is the result. 

The child’s hormones, either their own or their mother’s, might be triggered, which passed on to the child. However, it could also result from blocked pores on their skin. 

Many babies are born with them, and it’s a widespread occurrence, but it’s very worrying for parents. 

You can also see differences in the appearance of the spot with different babies and skin tones. However, this keratin build-up isn’t just a problem for infants; it also affects adults.

Why Do Adults Get Milk Spots?

What determines this is how the adults handled their skin over the years. A few things can sometimes cause it, such as too much sun exposure or using steroid creams frequently. It can simply be a genetic thing for some people, as more people are prone to getting it than others.

Many people get it on their arms, and a good exfoliator will help get rid of some of that dead skin. Still, do not rub the skin excessively so that it may become infected.

Should You Be Worried About the Milk Spots?

Typically, milk spots heal by themselves through their natural healing process. However, there are times when they can become infected, and at that point, you may need to treat them; always wash your child’s skin with the right baby bathing products. 

Water might be sufficient in some cases. Rub the skin gently so that it doesn’t get irritating. There will be a need to contact a doctor if your child is experiencing other symptoms, including fever or rashes elsewhere. 

It’s important to consider all symptoms together, but milk spots are generally not a problem. The treatment of this skin condition is similar to that of hay fever in babies and is easy to treat.

How to Get Rid of Milk Spots?

You can get rid of milk spots both at your home or by going through medical treatment.

Home Removal of Milk Spots

Mild cases of milk spots disappear on their own most of the time. Nevertheless, you can try a few home remedies that won’t harm your skin and might even speed up the process. 

Steaming your face is one of the excellent home remedies. Alternatively, you can purchase a facial steamer and do this in the bathroom during a hot shower. 

In addition to opening the pores, the steam expels the keratin flakes from the pores. Salicylic acid or glycolic acid are also suitable exfoliating cleansers. 

Exfoliants remove excess keratin from the skin. In addition to those acids, citric acid also prevents the skin from producing excess keratin.

Dermatologists generally recommend avoiding picking or squeezing the milk spots. By doing so, you cannot rid the pores of keratin flakes. Your skin will become red and traumatized as a consequence. If you are unlucky, you may even develop scars.

Medical Removal of Milk Spots

A dermatologist should treat milk spots that persist or that cause discomfort. Dermatologists have the latest tools and methods to treat these tiny cysts.

Removing milk spots most commonly involves de-roofing. With the help of a sterile needle, dermatologists remove the piece of skin containing the keratin flake. After that, the flake is squeezed or pricked out.

Further, there is a less-common method of electrosurgery called curettage. Using this procedure, a dermatologist scrapes off the milk spots, after which a hot wire seals the skin. 

The dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the milk spots like cryotherapy. I would recommend that you make an appointment with your dermatologist if you have persistent milia so that you can remove it.


A milk spot is a small, white bump on the skin. Infants are most commonly affected by milk spots, although adults can also get them. The cause of the milk spots is the keratin flakes trapping under the skin. 

It is typical for milk spots to heal on their own as the body heals itself. However, if the milk spot is not healing on its own, you should contact a dermatologist. Also, your child will need to see a dermatologist if they experience any other symptoms.