A medley of blackheads, milia, and more oh my!
Blackheads are something we are all familiar with, but did you know they are also called open comedones? Blackheads are usually caused by a pore that gets clogged with keratin (skin protein) and sebum (oil). Given the black color many believe these spots are clogged with dirt, but really it’s the exposure to air that oxidizes the clogged pore and turns it black. Don’t worry though, most blackheads can be extracted with a trusty comedone extractor!
A milium (single for milia) is a small superficial cyst formed in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. Milia appear as tiny, pearly-white bumps just under the surface of the skin and contain keratin (skin protein). They are often seen on the face, in particular on the delicate skin around the eyes. While milia are harmless, they can be prevented or minimized with exfoliation techniques like chemical peels, microdermabrasion or topical retinoids. However, they are sometimes difficult to remove without a physician’s help, since they cannot simply be squeezed out. Often, the surface of the skin has to be pierced first with a lancet, a sharp pointed blade, or a needle, in order to open the milium, which can then be removed with a comedone extractor.