Milia are tiny white bumps thatmost often appear on a newborn’s upper cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. They’re harmless and very common. Milia occur when dead skin becomes trapped in tiny pockets near the surface of the skin. Don’t worry, they should clear up on their own within a few weeks of life.
My newborn has tiny white bumps on her nose and cheeks. What are they?
Those tiny white bumps are called milia. They're often mistaken for whiteheads, but they’re harmless and very common. About half of all newborn babies get them, most often on the upper cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. Some babies have just a few and others have many. Milia, (also known as milk spots) typically show up a day or two after birth. In babies who are born prematurely, they may not show up for days or weeks.
It can be upsetting to see your beautiful infant's skin covered in these little bumps, but they'll go away without any treatment in two or three weeks. Unlike baby acne, milia do not cause inflammation or swelling.
You may also spot similar bumps on your baby's gums or on the roof of her mouth. These are called Epstein's pearls, and they're also harmless.
What causes milia?
Newborn skin is still learning to shed dead skin cells on its own. Milia form when the dead skin becomes trapped in tiny pockets near the surface of the skin. While baby acne is directly related to a mother’s hormones, milia is not caused by anything hormonal.
What can I do to help clear them up?
You don't need to do anything at all. The milia will typically clear within the first few weeks of life, although it's possible for them to last a month or two.
Say no to creams, ointments, and vigorous washing and scrubbing; it won't help and it could irritate your baby's delicate skin.
Don't try to squeeze the bumps like pimples – that could cause scarring.
Try to be patient. Your child will soon have her baby-smooth complexion back.
If the milia don't go away in a few months, talk with your baby's doctor.
Does having milia mean my baby will grow up to have acne?
No, milia has no relationship to acne. If you or your partner had acne as a teen or adult, your child may have an increased chance of getting it when he or she hits puberty.
Visual guide to children's rashes and skin conditions
BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Does Your Skin Have Tiny White Bumps? Leave Them Alone. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/does-babys-skin-have-tiny-white-bumps-leave-them-alone/ [Accessed February 2021]
KidsDoc Symptom Checker. 2020. Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/symptom-checker/Pages/symptomviewer.aspx?symptom=Newborn+Rashes+and+Birthmarks [Accessed February 2021]
Mayo Clinic. 2020. Milia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milia/symptoms-causes/syc-20375073 [Accessed February 2021]
Raising Children Network (Australia). 2018. https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/milia [Accessed February 2021]
USF Health. 2018. What are Milia—And How Do You Get Rid of Them? https://hscweb3.hsc.usf.edu/dermatology/what-are-milia-and-how-do-you-get-rid-of-them/ [Accessed February 2021]
Amanda Krupa, MSc is a nationally-recognized medical writer, editor, and content strategist.
Newborn Baby Milk Spots | Milia
Milk spots are a common skin condition that affects up to half of all babies. 1 To understand a little more about these tiny bumps and what you can do about them, we’ve put together a helpful guide.
What are newborn baby milk spots?
How common are newborn baby milk spots?
What do milk spots look like on babies?
Are newborn baby milk spots the same as baby acne?
What causes newborn baby milk spots?
How long do milk spots last on babies?
Are newborn baby milk spots a reason to worry?
How do you treat newborn baby milk spots?
1. What are newborn baby milk spots?
Milia (mi-lee-uh) – better known as milk spots – are tiny cysts filled with keratin (a protein found in hair, skin tissue and nail cells). They are a very common skin condition in babies.
Milk spots appear on a baby’s face, but also sometimes on other parts of their body too, and tend to cluster, typically around the eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead.
2. How common are newborn baby milk spots?
Newborn baby milk spots are very common. In fact, doctors estimate that almost half of all babies are either born with milk spots or develop them. Adults can sometimes get them too.
If your baby doesn’t have milk spots, that’s also completely normal.
3. What do milk spots look like on babies?
Believe it or not, newborn baby milk spots have nothing to do with milk. These tiny white spots (and they really are tiny, usually less than a millimetre in size) get their name because of their milky-white color. A baby might have only a few milk spots or they might have lots clustered together.
4. Are newborn baby milk spots the same as baby acne?
No. Although people often refer to newborn baby milk spots as baby acne, baby acne is actually a different skin condition, one where the spots are red in color with a notable head rather than white and smooth.
To find out more about baby acne, read our helpful guide.
5. What causes newborn baby milk spots?
Although doctors aren’t completely sure what causes newborn milia, theories include undeveloped skin glands in baby (that then lead to blocked pores), and excess hormones passed onto baby by mum during childbirth.
6. How long do milk spots last on babies?
Newborn baby milk spots usually only last a few weeks. You’ll wake up one morning and they’ll have completely vanished.
7. Are newborn baby milk spots a reason to worry?
You’ll find yourself worrying about lots of things when you become a parent, but newborn baby milk spots shouldn’t be one of them. Not only are these little bumps extremely common, they’re also completely harmless. And unlike some other childhood skin conditions, such as hives in babies, which can be itchy and sore, they won’t cause your baby any discomfort either.
The only time you should be concerned about milk spots is if they’re accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, or in the rare instance that they become infected. In both these cases, pay your doctor a visit right away, they’ll know immediately what to do.
8. How do you treat baby milk spots?
Given time, newborn baby milk spots will clear up on their own, so just keep baby clean the way you always do – either with cooled boiled water and wash cloth or a gentle cleanse with WaterWipes vegan, cruelty-free and sensitive baby wet wipes. And keep feeding them on schedule too.
The one thing you shouldn’t do – no matter how tempting – is pop these spots. Although they may look a little bit like pimples, there’s no natural opening to squeeze things out of (and nothing inside to squeeze out either), so all you’ll be doing is breaking the baby’s skin, which could lead to infection or even leave a scar.
When it comes to newborn milk spots, it really is a case of taking a deep breath and being patient. Your baby’s skin will be bump-free before you know it.
If you found this newborn baby milk spots guide helpful, you might like to take a look at some of the other features on our Parenting Hub? For example:
Baby contact dermatitis
Newborn baby diaper rash
Newborn baby eczema
Baby heat rash
Newborn baby skin care
Baby face scratches
Common outdoor rashes
Baby skin allergies
Newborn baby jaundice
Oral thrush in babies
Umbilical cord care
Newborn baby cradle cap
White spots on the body of a child
Varieties and main causes of white spots
What is Vitiligo?
Treatments for Vitiligo
Discoloration of the skin is a problem that has recently become common in both adults and children. Very often, white spots appear on the body of newborns, which cause concern. Should I worry about white spots in newborns, what is the reason for their appearance and what to do about it? Let's figure it out together.
The main causes
Any of the diseases is collectively called hypopigmentation - discoloration of the skin, nails and hair, which occurs due to a lack of a pigment called melanin. One of the most common diseases that is accompanied by the appearance of white spots on the skin of the baby is Vitiligo (loss of melanin). The causes of the origin of this disease are unknown, the ways of its treatment also do not give the proper result. The only thing that can be done is to try to improve the appearance of the skin in various ways, which we will discuss next.
The second most common cause of white spots is fungi, which are found in the body of every person. However, under favorable conditions (moisture and heat), the number of fungi begins to increase, resulting in red-brown or white spots on the skin. The causes of infection are excessive sweating, a warm, humid climate. For treatment, you can use antifungal drugs, for example, Clotrimazole or Terbinafine.
Important! A correct diagnosis can only be made by a professional dermatologist, so you should not experiment on a child and his health by self-medicating.
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
Small white patches exposed to the sun.
The skin becomes smooth, but is able to peel off.
Important! This disease is more common among women with fair skin, the cause of its occurrence is unknown, doctors suggest that this is one of the symptoms of aging.
With this disease, the skin also begins to change its color. White lichen is most often seen in adolescents and children living in warm climates. Whitish spots become dry and scaly, the causes of the occurrence are still unknown.
In simple terms, a pigmentless nevus is a birthmark that poses a threat to human life and health, since the development of melanoma is a severe malignant tumor that occurs on the skin.
It is worth noting that white spots may appear on the child's body due to improper or poorly balanced nutrition. Due to the lack of vitamins and certain pigments, white marks may appear on the human body, which are not dangerous and disappear with the right diet or taking bioactive supplements. In addition, the reasons for the appearance of white spots can be:
Psoriasis is a chronic non-communicable disease.
Leucoderma is a disease that may appear after syphilis.
Important! The diseases mentioned earlier are extremely rare in infants, but it is necessary and important to know about them, as it concerns health.
Manifestations in children
As for the skin of newborns, white spots on it may appear due to one of these diseases:
Tumorous sclerosis - white spots, the radius of which reaches 1. 5 centimeters. The result of the disease can be more serious pathologies, such as epilepsy, mental retardation, or damage to internal organs.
Hypomelanosis - may appear after suffering a serious infectious disease, occurs due to dyschromia of the upper layer of the skin.
What is Vitiligo?
As mentioned earlier, the most common disease that is accompanied by the appearance of white spots on the skin is Vitiligo. As a result of this disease, spots of various shapes and sizes appear on the skin of adults and children, the cause of which is the absence of melanin. As a result, the skin is not protected from the effects of the sun and there is a possibility of getting burned.
Manifestation of Vitiligo:
On the arms and face, in the elbows and groin.
Spots appear in separate areas or create groups that merge into a single spot, occupying most of the body.
The disease does not appear on the feet and hands.
If spots appear on the head, the hairline also loses color.
Causes of the disease:
Impaired liver function.
Diseases of the thyroid gland and endocrine system.
Incorrect work of the pituitary gland.
Disease of the gastrointestinal tract.
Disease of the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Stress and infectious diseases.
Malfunctions of the immune system.
Disturbed balance of vitamins and microelements.
Very often Vitiligo is confused with other diseases, namely:
Important! Only a dermatologist can determine the cause of stains and how to treat them, so do not put off your visit to the doctor.
Do not sunbathe with a sweaty body.
It is forbidden to stay in drafts for a long time.
The use of air conditioners and fans is not recommended.
Avoid exposure to high humidity for long periods of time.
Important! In general, any violation of the skin is a health problem, however, Vitiligo is not an infectious disease, so it does not pose a danger to others.
Treatment methods for Vitiligo
Our ancestors found several ways to combat Vitiligo, however, it is impossible to completely cure this disease, since the cause of its occurrence remains unclear. At the same time, spots can be easily masked, so that the feeling of discomfort will disappear. Means for the treatment of the disease:
St. John's wort.
It is enough to choose one of the plants and apply its extract to depigmented areas. These plants contain furocoumarins, which increase the production of melanin and restore normal skin color.
Important! At the same time, there is an opinion that these procedures increase the likelihood of skin cancer. What to believe and what not - everyone decides for himself.
What do white spots on the face mean?
Many people at some point in their life may develop white spots of varying sizes on their face, arms or chest. Below are the top 5 causes of white spots on the face.
Milia are small, round, hard white dots on the face that are often mistaken for whiteheads. They develop when the protein keratin found in the top layer of the skin and other components of dead skin cells build up under the surface of the skin. The most common areas for milia to appear are around the eyes, cheeks, and nose. Milia can be noted in all age groups in both men and women. It is also common among very young children and is then called milk spots.
Milia can be caused by an allergic reaction to face cream or sun damage.
A person usually gets better without treatment within a few weeks. Dermatologists recommend not squeezing or punching rashes at home. Changing the face cream or other products that may have caused the allergic reaction may help.
If the condition does not improve on its own, a doctor or dermatologist can treat milia in a variety of ways: opening the capsules (to extract keratin with a medical needle), applying a retinoid cream (on the face, but not around the eyes), microdermabrasion (a procedure that removes the most upper layers of the affected area).
Seborrheic eczema Pityriasis alba
The disease looks like pale pink or red scaly inflammations on the skin. They often appear on the face and hands. Seborrheic eczema is more noticeable in dark-skinned individuals or after sun exposure. The condition is mainly noted in children and adolescents. The causes of the disease are unknown.
Spots usually disappear within a few months, but may last up to several years. There is no specific treatment for seborrheic eczema, but a doctor can treat any symptoms of itching or discomfort with steroid or nonsteroidal creams, as well as treat dry skin.
Vitiligo appears as spots on the skin that have lost their color pigment. They can appear anywhere, including the face. The disease occurs in about 1% of people worldwide. White spots can be small and remain so, and sometimes gradually increase and cover almost the entire body. Vitiligo can occur at any age, but about half of people develop the disease before age 20.
Heredity is a risk factor for the development of the disease. Vitiligo occurs in people with various skin tones, but is most noticeable on dark skin. The disease is not contagious. Some scientists believe that vitiligo patches develop when the body produces an antibody against melanin and breaks it down.
There are several possible treatments for vitiligo. The choice of method depends on the severity of the condition. Individuals with vitiligo should always wear sunscreen and avoid sun exposure as the affected skin will burn more easily. You can also use special creams to hide the difference in skin color. Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory creams, such as corticosteroids. However, long-term use of corticosteroids can cause unwanted side effects, such as thinning of the skin, so doctors may prescribe other types of anti-inflammatory creams.
Vitiligo is sometimes treated with artificial ultraviolet (UV) light therapy or phototherapy, often for several months. Laser treatment can also be used to treat certain areas of the skin. Surgical therapy has been developed, but is not yet a common practice.
Pityriasis versicolor ( Pityriasis versicolor)
Pityriasis versicolor is a common disease caused by a yeast infection. In this case, spots of various shades of any localization appear on the skin and are accompanied by dry skin and itching. Sometimes the spots are small, and sometimes they become noticeable only when the skin is tanned. Pityriasis multicolor is more common in adolescents and young adults, and is more common in the tropics and subtropical regions. In temperate climates, discolored patches may disappear during the cooler months.
Over 90% of adults have a yeast called Malassezia on their skin. This is a natural phenomenon and usually does not cause any problems. However, sometimes they provoke the development of multi-colored lichen. This may be due to several factors such as:
hot and humid weather;
weak immune system;
Pityriasis versicolor can occur during pregnancy but is not dangerous.
There are many different ways to successfully treat tinea versicolor with antifungal creams and lotions, cleansers, and antifungal tablets.
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, also known as white sunspots, is characterized by the appearance of flat white spots 1 to 10 mm in diameter.