Milia also known as milk spots or oil seeds, are common, benign, keratin-filled cysts. They appear as white to yellowish bumps/dots measuring 1-2 mm in diameter and can be found around the eyes, nose, roof of the mouth and other areas such as genitalia.

Primary milia are typically seen in infants but also may occur in children and adults.  Secondary milia are observed in a number of blistering disorders and following dermabrasion or radiotherapy.

Primary Milia are thought thought to develop in immature sebaceous glands.


  • bullous pemphigoid
  • inherited and acquired epidermolysis bullosa
  • bullous lichen planus
  • porphyria cutanea tarda
  • burns
  • contact dermatitis
  • photocontact allergy to sunscreen
  • and following potent topical corticosteroid use

Milia can sometimes be a result of harsh face washes or from repeated heat stress from hot showering on people with sensitive skins.

Milia are not dangerous and can be left alone. However surgical incision can be employed if removal is wanted and some beauty therapists recommend exfoliation and facial massage.

A similar condition is Xanthalesma which is the appearance of yellow flat plaques on the upper eyelids or below them. This condition has associations with the presence of hyperlipidemia, diabetes or atherosclerosis.

This information is of  a general nature and is not intended as a diagnosis.