Can a dermatologist remove milia


Milia (Skin cysts, skin gravel): Pinhead-sized whitish or skin-colored, spherical nodules that often appear in groups on the face. Dermatologically, these are horn-filled cysts that form in the ducts of the sebum glands. Milia are harmless, but cosmetically disruptive. They can usually be removed without consequences with a milieu knife or a laser.

Leading complaints

  • Yellowish-white spherical nodules superficially located in the skin
  • Especially on the face (cheeks, around the eyes, temples).

When to the doctor

In the next few days or weeks, at

  • Milia, if these are cosmetically disturbing and should be removed.

The illness

Milia are horn-filled cysts that spontaneously form on the excretory ducts of sebum glands. They reach a diameter of about 1–3 mm and are harder than the surrounding areas of the skin. Milia occur individually or in groups and particularly like to sit on the cheeks, temples and in the area around the eye.


Why milia arise is still unclear. There is probably a hereditary predisposition to this, as milia often occur in people whose relatives are also affected. On the other hand, milia preferentially grow on the skin of young women - which is why experts suspect that hormones also play a role.

These spontaneously arising milia are also primary milia called. They occur at any age, but are most common in young adults and less commonly in infants.

Some milia also develop after sunburn, a skin injury or after a skin disease such as pemphigoids. Then one speaks of secondary milia. They can sit anywhere because they arise where the skin has been damaged.

Diagnostic assurance

The dermatologist recognizes milia by their typical appearance. In the case of secondary milia, the previous skin injury or disease is an additional indication.

Differential diagnoses. Milia can (rarely) be confused with xanthelasma, warts and heat pimples (miliaria), in newborns also with newborn acne.


Treatment is not necessary from a medical point of view. If the milia are cosmetically disturbing, the dermatologist has several options for removing them (the costs are not covered by the health insurers, as this is not a medical problem, but a cosmetic one):

  • Score with a pointed cannula or a milien knife and carefully squeeze out the contents
  • Ablation with the laser.


Milia are harmless. Secondary milia in particular often regress spontaneously, as do milia in newborns and infants.

Your pharmacy recommends

Even if it seems easy to scratch the milia yourself and squeeze out the contents - it is better to have the small procedure carried out by a dermatologist. This is especially true for milia in the area of ​​the eyes, with large milia because of the risk of scarring and with milia that occur in large numbers.


Dr. med. Arne Schäffler, Dr. Bernadette Andre-Wallis in: Health Today, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Revision and update: Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 14:38

Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.