How are milia treated?

Milia usually are not treated, because they are not harmful. Adolescents and adults might be concerned about what milia do to their appearance. In these cases, there are ways that a doctor can remove them. These include medical therapies such as regular application of adapalene gel which is over the counter or tretinoin cream which is a prescription. There are also surgical options which may involve using a needle to puncture the milia and squeezing out the contents, and/or cryotherapy, which is a technique that involves freezing the skin. Milia en plaque can sometimes be successfully treated with medicated creams or an antibiotic called minocycline.

You should not try to squeeze or scrape off milia on your own, as you might do with a pimple. This can scar the skin or cause an infection. But there are things you can do at home that can help:

  • Wash your baby’s face every day with warm water and gentle soap. Then dry it very gently. Pat the skin dry, do not rub.
  • Do not use lotions or oils that are meant for adults on a baby. Infant skin is too delicate.
  • Adults might try an over-the-counter treatment to exfoliate the skin, which means removing dead skin.
  • Use sunscreen.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/22/2018.


  • American Academy of Family Physicians. Newborn Skin: Part I. Common Rashes. Accessed 10/23/2018.
  • DermNet New Zealand Trust. Milium. Accessed 10/23/2018.
  • Chapter 108. Normal Skin Changes. In: Usatine RP, Smith MA, Chumley HS, Mayeaux EJ, Jr.. eds. The Color Atlas of Family Medicine, 2e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2013.
  • Berk DR, Bayliss SJ. Milia: a review and classification. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;59(6):1050-63.

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