What Those White Bumps Around Your Eyes Really Mean

Most of us consider ourselves pretty knowledgeable when it comes to acne. After all, by the time we're past our teens, we've likely had plenty of first-hand experience and probably have a stash of products in the bathroom on standby to attack anything that looks remotely like a pimple. But what about those little white bumps that sometimes appear around the eyes, nose, or cheeks? They can't be squeezed out (don't even think about it) and seem to take forever to go away.

Most likely, those little white bumps are milia, which are "tiny cysts arising from sweat ducts, made of keratin and found just below the skin," according to Neil Sadick, a dermatologist and founder of Sadick Dermatology in New York City (via Allure).

Because of their appearance, milia are often mistaken for whiteheads, but they're not the same thing. Whiteheads (pimples that have white tips and are "poppable") are filled with pus, while the white spots of milia are filled with a hardened, making eliminating them yourself difficult (via Women's Health Magazine). 

Regular cleansing and exfoliating can help

If you want to get rid of them quickly, there are a few options. Washing your face twice a day, staying clear of heavy, oil-based skincare products, and regularly using a gentle exfoliant can help. For immediate results though, the only safe option is to see a skincare professional for an extraction. Since the milia are covered by a thin layer of skin, it can't be "popped" like a pimple (sorry). Instead, a tiny cut has to be made through the skin, with the contents then gently squeezed out. Don't try it yourself, since it could lead to scarring (via Women's Health Magazine).

As annoying as milia may be, they are very common and don't present any underlying health concerns. And, unless they were formed in response to skin damage (like a burn), those little bumps will usually go away on their own within a few months or less without any treatment (via Verywell Health).