Milia in Newborn Babies – Causes, Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

5 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Symptoms of Milia in Newborn Babies

Handling a newborn can be an overwhelming phase. You may see various new adventures that your baby’s skin goes through. You must be very careful while looking after the baby by taking them to scheduled check-ups and not changing their routine. While skin problems during their neonatal time are common, they may not carry forward such conditions into the future. These skin issues will appear and slowly disappear as your little bundle of joy begins to grow. Milia in newborn babies is one such skin condition.

Milia is common in newborns, toddlers, young children, and adults. It is a harmless tiny sac of the dead cells on the skin that can go away on its own. Although it does not need any medical attention, over-the-counter medications are a big no-no for any newborn with Milia. There are various types of Epstein pearls or Milia. This article details Milia in Newborn babies, its causes, types, symptoms, and treatment.

In This Article

What is Milia in Newborn Babies?

Milia in newborns is a skin condition where you may observe a group of tiny sacs of white eruptions that look like white pearls. Milia can also occur inside the mouth and on the gums. These white cysts arise on the midline palate area and are called Epstein Pearls. Also known as milk spots of the skin, they are the collections of dead skin cells trapped in the epidermis. When the dead skin cells do not shed through the skin, they get trapped and show up in the form of Milia in newborns.

They commonly occur on the face of a newborn near the nose, eyes, forehead, and cheeks. About half of newborns are born with this condition every year. Congenital milia regresses on its own after some months of birth and such kind of milia does not require special medical attention.

Causes of Milia in Babies

baby with milea

Since the newborn’s skin is sensitive and not matured, it cannot shed the dead skin cells. Due to this, an oil gland blocks the skin pores that trap these dead skin cells leading to small white pearl-like cysts. Milia occurs commonly on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and below the eyes of the newborn. Sometimes it may also be seen on the genitals of the baby. It may look annoying, but it does not bother the baby. Congenital milia do not cause any itching or irritation in babies. Milia usually regresses a month or two after birth.

Breastfeeding or any other external causes do not contribute to the cause of Milia in newborns. There is no particular reason behind the formation of a milium. Since a milium does not have a reddish outline like a pimple or any other skin bump, milia should not be considered Acne Neonatorum or Baby acne.

[Read : Baby Acne]

Types of Milia

There are different types in Milia. They are,

1. Neonatal Milia

Neonatal Milia is associated with newborn and young babies. These are the milky white bumps on the skin of the baby. They usually do not need any treatment. Neonatal milia may take a bit longer to regress than Erythema Neonatorum but go away within a few weeks.

2. Primary Milia

This type of Milia occurs in babies and young children. No cause contributes to the occurrence of this kind of Milia.

3. Secondary Milia

Secondary Milia commonly occurs in juveniles and adults. It can be a cause of an existing skin condition. It can also be present in newborns. Secondary milia are sometimes associated with an inherited skin condition. Adults and older children may suffer milia due to skin injuries like burns, blisters, and other skin damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Milia in Newborn Babies

Milia in Newborn Babies

Milia does not show any signs before they arise, but they are recognized after they form. This is how you can identify milia in newborns.

  • You may see small white bumps on your baby’s face.
  • They occur on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and sometimes inside the mouth.
  • Milia in newborns looks like baby acne, but they are not acne.
  • These tiny white sacs do not bother the baby and are not a cause of concern.

How is Milia Diagnosed in Babies?

Milia in babies are tiny white bumps that look like baby acne. These do not cause any itching or irritation on the skin. Neonatal Milia do not need any particular diagnosis. Doctors may likely notice them during regular checkups. Milia can only be diagnosed by their characteristic appearance. This skin condition goes away on its own as the baby grows.

However, if you are concerned about your baby’s skin condition, doctors can help you explain and understand Neonatal Milia.

Treatment Options For Milia in Newborn Babies

Treatment Options For Milia in Newborn Babies

Milia in newborns does not require any particular treatment. It usually goes down after a few weeks and eventually disappears. However, it is strictly not recommended to pop them up and treat them with any over-the-counter medications. Do not use creams or other remedies in an attempt to treat Milia. It may cause other skin problems as the skin of newborns is extremely sensitive.

Gently handle the skin condition by keeping your baby’s face clean. Do not rub to dry but tap their face with a soft towel that absorbs the water. It may be overwhelming to see your newborn’s skin go through this phase but remember that Neonatal Milia is not a cause of concern.

[Read : Top 10 Baby Skincare Tips]

How to Prevent Milia in Babies?

One cannot do anything to prevent Milia in babies since it is not because of any underlying health condition. Some inherited skin conditions may lead to Milia in younger children later in life and doctors may treat them in various ways to stop them from spreading.

When to See a Doctor?

Milia in babies is a normal skin condition that occurs after birth. It is non-contagious and non-infectious. It does not cause any irritation or itching for the baby. However, if you are concerned about the clusters of these tiny white bumps on your baby’s soft and supple skin, you can consult the doctor. Get an appointment with your doctor if the Milia does not regress even after several months of its formation.

Take a deep breath and be patient and every ride taken by your newborn’s skin has an end. You do not have to worry about baby milia in newborn babies as they are common and are not a cause for concern. Do not try to treat them at home. It is always better to dial or get an appointment with your doctor if you are too concerned about it.


1. Does Breast Milk Help Baby Milia?

Breast milk helps to increase immunity in babies. Since Milia is different from baby acne, it does not help in treating baby Milia.

2. Is Milia Painful to a Newborn?

No, milia is not a painful condition. It does not irritate the skin or cause any itching. Treating them, like scaring them or popping the cysts, may lead to other infections.

3. How Long Does Baby Milia Last?

Baby milia may last for a few weeks and regress on its own. It does not need any particular treatment.

Read Also: Cradle Cap In Babies

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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