Our doctor Interviewed On Milia (Oil Seeds)

The December 2012 “HerLook” issue of herworld features our doctor’s opinion about getting rid of milia, so called “oil seeds”.
(at page 98 and page 99)

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Banish Bad Skin

Oil seeds are the last thing we want on our skin. these unsightly white bump aren’t just an aesthetic problem; they are indicator of poor skin health. Michelle Tan talks to three skin experts about getting rid of milia.

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What is milia?

When the skin cells are not completely shed, keratin builds up beneath the epidermis forming a wall that is one to three millimetres in diameter. The rounded bump is referred to as milium (plural, milia) and often appears arounds the eyes and cheeks as raised white bumps that are sometimes mistaken for whiteheads. “Milia affect both men and women, especially those who smoke or sleep late,”says Dr. Reiko Soo, director of VL Skincare.

What can worsen your milia?

Frequent usage of rich, oil-based beauty products, especially moisturizers and eye creams can cause the growth of milia seeds. “Our climate is not suitable for women to use lavish products formulated for dry, cold countries,” shares Dr. Reiko. doctor of Mediviron UOA says, “Milia, like other signs of aging, can also be sun-induced. Prolonged exposure to sunlight contributes to 80 per cent of skin aging, and can indirectly cause multiple types of skin lesions.”

Will exfoliating the area help minimize or remove milia?

Did you know that exfoliating too regularly can cause skin discoloration and dark spots? “Our elbows and knees are darker than the skin on other parts of the body because they are always rubbing against other surfaces. This makes the skin thicker and tougher, and same goes for the skin on our face,” advises by doctor from Mediviron UOA Clinic Scrubbing too often can backfire and instead of getting baby-smooth skin, you end up experiencing more skin-related problems than before. Exfoliating once a week is sufficient.

Can I pick at my milium with a needle?

“If the milium is newly-formed (the bump is smaller and softer), you can squeeze it out gently after using a clean needle to poke the surface and follow with an antiseptic solution to prevent inflammation,” says Dr. Kee Yong Seng of The Sloane Clinic. Older bumps, however, risk being infected during the extraction process. If the spot is inflamed, it can become red and swollen like a pimple. You also risk damaging the skin around the milium which can cause permanent scarring.

Are milia a recurring problem?

If you have had a milium removed, it won’t grow back on the same spot. However, due to our skin’s renewal process, it will occur again over time. Milia are often trapped under the skin, close to the surface. When your skin sheds off dead skin cells, new milia spots will surface.

Will the milia face or disappear over time?

No, it won’t. It stays on the skin’s surface as a bump until it’s removed. The keratin inside the bump will eventually harden and become yellowish, so the experts advise having milia removed regularly every two to three months.

How do I prevent the growth of milia?

Use lightweight, water-based products that are more suited to our Malaysian climate. Ingredients such as aloe vera gel help to repair, stabilize and soothe your skin. “Alpha hydroxyl acids including Glycolic acid and Retinoid acid creams also help to induce mild exfoliation of the skin without aggravating it the way grainy scrubs often do,” advises by doctor from Mediviron UOA Clinic. Dr.Kee recommends chemical peels or microdermabrasion to achieve smoother, younger-looking skin.

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Skin Vocabulary – by resident aesthetic doctor of Mediviron UOA Clinic, explains more about other types of skin growths.

Syringoma

Most common around the eyes and underarms, syringoma occur when sweat glands are blocked, causing bumps with flat, ragged edges. This condition can also be genetically inherited.

Xanthelasma

Irregular-shaped pockets of yellowish cholesterol deposits form on the upper eyelids, usually affecting people who have a history of high cholesterol.

Keloids

Overactive clusters of scar tissue that form raised, thick and shiny scars. Although benign and not contagious, keloids are sometimes accompanied by severe itchiness or pain.

Skin tags

Tiny pouches of growths that hang from the skin’s surface from a stalk. Usually dark and irregularly-shaped, skin tags typically occur around areas where there is constant friction, like the underarms, neck, below the breasts and the groin area.

Last but not least….

With the rise of concern about milia problems, she strongly suggest CO2 laser for eye milia seed (oil seed) removal. The patient only need 1 session to remove most milia seed. Some milia may need 2 or 3 treatment sessions, spaced 1 month apart. The results are permanent. It is very safe for all skin types. To study more about milia treatment, click on our website.

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