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    Milia

    Milia are tiny white bumps or small cysts on the skin. They are almost always seen in newborn babies.

    Milia occur when dead skin becomes trapped in small pockets at the surface of the skin or mouth. They are common in newborn infants.

    Similar cysts are seen in the mouths of newborn infants. They are called Epstein's pearls. These cysts also go away on their own.

    Adults may develop milia on the face. The bumps and cysts also occur on parts of the body that are swollen (inflamed) or injured. Rough sheets or clothing may irritate the skin and mild reddening around the bump. The middle of the bump will stay white.

    Irritated milia are sometimes called "baby acne." This is incorrect since milia are not a true from of acne.

    Symptoms

    • Whitish, pearly bump in the skin of newborns
    • Bumps that appear across the cheeks, nose, and chin
    • Whitish, pearly bump on gums or roof of mouth (they maylook like teeth coming through the gums)

    Exams and Tests

    The doctor can often diagnose milia just bylooking atthe skin or mouth. No testing is needed.

    Treatment

    In children, no treatment is needed. Skin changes on the face or cysts in the mouthoften go awayafter the first few weeks of life without treatment. There are no lasting effects.

    Adults may have milia removed to improve their appearance.

    Prevention

    There is no known prevention.

    References

    Morelli JG. Diseases of the Neonate. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 639.

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          Review Date: 5/10/2013

          Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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