What are these white bumps on my skin?

UltrasoundHere are the most common white bumps found on the skin:

Milia is a condition that occurs when a pocket of keratinized skin cells is trapped underneath the surface of the skin.  These appear as waxy looking small, hard white bumps that do not usually disappear on their own.  Unlike whiteheads, they are not associated with pores (oil glands).  This means there is no escape route for the clogged material and they are more likely to just sit there indefinitely.  They are very common on the faces of babies but also adults.  In adults they are often a result of sun damage where the skin develops an impermeable layer on the surface that increases the likelihood of clogging (especially under the eyes).   Milia can be lancet and then removed by a qualified dermatologist or esthetician.  When they are extracted they appear as little hard white beads.

Keratosis Pilaris often occurs on the upper arms and looks kind of like goose bumps.  This occurs when skin proteins get clogged in the hair follicle.  This condition is usually associated with dry skin.  The condition may improve in the summer when the skin gets less dry.  The most effective way to treat Keratosis Pilaris is to mix 6 drops of Glycolic Serum Plus in with a light body lotion and work it into the skin twice daily.  In-Spa one can speed up results by having a Glycolic Booster Treatment. Concentrated glycolic is spread over the skin to quickly dissolve those dead dry cell layers.

Closed comedones are clogs of oil and dead cells in the sebaceous glands, which are attached to hair follicles in the skin. They are caused by “sticky sebum” (oil) that is slow moving out of the pores.  The oil is trapped in the pore by layers of dead skin cells or by using a too heavy moisturizer, foundation or eye cream for your particular skin type.  Although this is considered a form of acne, the clog is close to the skin’s surface and not inflamed.  Clogs that are located lower in the skin will often form cysts.  White bumps which become infected and show signs of inflammation are called pustules.  They have a white pocket of dead cells and bacteria in the center of an inflamed blemish.

Closed comedones are slow to correct themselves.  If you are over drying you skin with detergent based cleansers, alcohol based toners or harsh acne products they tend to get indurated (hardened) and deeper in the skin.  If you are using too rich products they will increase in number.  It is not a good idea to remove these yourself, the reason being that if they are removed incorrectly bacteria can get into the pore and cause inflammation, leading to a full blown pimple.  Soften up the surface of the skin using a Glycolic Acid based serum daily. Try a Retinol based serum at night and use a smooth surfaced exfoliating scrub three times a week.  Once you have prepped your skin with an effective exfoliating regime it’s time to visit your esthetician to have those stubborn closed comedones extracted.  An effective pore clearing facial will include steam to soften the oil and a peel for in depth exfoliation, but more advanced treatments also include ultrasound exfoliation.  After your peel,  your esthetician will follow up with a Sonopeel.  This Sonopeel (which looks like a metal spatula) slides under accumulated dead cells and uses sound waves to gently lift and remove them, creating a more effective exfoliation to clear the pores and make way for easier extractions.  A Sonopeel treatment is also a highly effective way to hydrate and soften your skin.

Click here to book a pore clearing Redefining Skin Facial with a Sonopeel ultrasound treatment.

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