Cysts – Milia Cysts

December 11th, 2010

Milia Cysts are very small cysts that are commonly called “whiteheads” which I encounter every day in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  They appear as small white papules the size of a pinhead on the face, neck and upper chest.  Milia Cysts arise spontaneously and are not associated with any hygiene practices.  Histologically, they appear identical to Epithelial Inclusion Cysts (see blog entry Cysts – Epithelial Inclusion Cysts).  Many teenagers with acne have Milia Cysts as a component of their acne along with comedones and pustules, but it is a very common finding in adults without acne.  Milia Cysts are relatively easy to treat in the dermatology office.  I typically make a small incision into the top of the Milia Cyst with an 11 blade so the contents can be extruded.  Milia Cysts consists of sebaceous debris which is extracted with firm pressure using a comedo extractor (“pimple popper”).  Topical retinoid products can be used nightly to prevent the occurrence of Milia Cysts and also bring pre-existing Milia Cysts to the surface so they can be more easily extracted.