Milia are small, yellow, or white cysts that appear isolated or in clusters, usually on the face. They are also popularly called ‘fat spots’. They are often found even in newborns and can affect people of any age.
Milia is not a type of acne, although many people confuse it at first sight with acne spots or classic pimples. They can occur in any area of the body, but in adults, they are more common around the eyes, cheeks, forehead, and genitals.
Fat spots are actually small collections of keratin accumulated under the skin. Keratin provides resistance to the skin, nails, and hair. As these cells die and are eliminated in the pores, keratin can accumulate in these pores and remain blocked at that level, forming a small cyst called million.
The cosmetic procedure for removing milia is recommended only for adults as children will see these spots disappear with time, without any treatment
How much does milia removal cost?
The price of milia removal is influenced by many factors including the place where you are living, the doctor you choose, and the treatment method. Usually, this procedure is not covered by health insurance because it isn’t considered a medical necessity, but a cosmetic one. So, be prepared to pay all the expenses yourself.
The average cost to remove milia is anywhere between $85 and $160 per microdermabrasion session and around $170 per six-month supply for topical retinoids like retain A, adapalene, or tazarotene. However, to properly treat this condition, plan on spending anywhere between $120 and $250.
Stephen Mandy, MD, says that the price for removing milia depends on the treatment you choose and its effectiveness. For instance, it is said that the most effective option for long-term results is the topical retinoid treatment with a cost of almost $170 for a six-month supply. Meanwhile, microdermabrasion, which is also effective, costs around $120 per session, but you will need several treatments over 30 to 60 days.
According to some posts from the Realself.com forum, the cost of milia removal is $130 to $160.
In a post on her blog, Alinta revealed that she was quoted $75 for removing milia but if combined with a facial then the costs would increase to $165. Anyway, when she has done this treatment there was an active promotion, that decreased the costs to $135, plus another $15 in case you wanted to remove milia.
Milia removal details
Milia can be primary or secondary. The primary milia are formed from retained keratin and appear on the skin. The secondary milia look similar but develop after certain materials block the ducts that lead to the surface of the skin. These materials get into the skin as a result of an injury, burns, or blisters.
The dermatologist can figure out a treatment formula following a diagnosis based on a specialist consultation which consists of examining the skin surface in the affected areas. In some cases, a biopsy of the lesions may be necessary.
Certain procedures or treatments for cleaning the affected areas may be recommended, such as:
- liquid nitrogen cryotherapy – the technique by which fat points are frozen;
- pickling of fat points – the technique by which a sterile needle is used and the contents of the cyst are removed;
- application of vitamin A creams as a support for skin exfoliation;
- laser treatment in the affected areas;
- diathermy – the technique by which extreme heat is generated to destroy cysts;
- removal of cysts by surgical methods.
Important things to consider
Avoid pinching or squeezing the milia. Although it can be tempting as a milia removal option, this skin trauma increases the risk of infection and can lead to scarring.
Milia can sometimes occur even after a chemical peel. It may be possible to prevent this by applying a topical retinoid before the procedure. However, retinoids can cause dark spots or excessive irritation when used in combination with chemical peels. In this sense, it is recommended to request an opinion from a specialist in chemical peels, taking into account the type of product used.
Tips for preventing milia
- Daily sun exposure should be avoided, especially between 11:00 a.m. and 16:00 p.m.
- Use sunscreen every day, regardless of the season.
- Avoid applying oils or greasy emollients to the face.
- Exfoliate the skin at least once a week.
- A healthy lifestyle is recommended, with a healthy and balanced diet, based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Avoid eating fried, spicy, salty, or sweet foods.
- Skin cleansing treatments should be used to avoid clogging pores (steam treatments, facial cleansing, peeling, etc.).