Have you ever noticed a small white bump on your face that refuses to pop, no matter how hard you try? These small white bumps are known as milia and are truly unpoppable, at least without the help of a dermatologist or esthetician.
Milia aren’t dirt, oil, or grime, but rather tiny, harmless cysts, said Schlessinger. “Picking at them often has little to no effect and attempting to pop them will likely leave your skin red, irritated, and inflamed, with the milia still intact,” said Schlessinger.
“If it’s bothering you, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist, who will likely extract it with a heated, sterilized tool,” said Engelman. Although milia tend to generally clear up on their own, you can use a retinoid cream to help smooth them out faster.
5. Keratosis Pilaris
Commonly known as “chicken skin”, this condition is genetic and is caused by a buildup of keratin, the protein that protects skin, hair, and nails from infection and other harmful environmental toxins.
“The buildup forms a plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle,” said Engelman. “Squeezing or picking at these lesions causes worsening effects like redness and the potential for scarring as well.”
Try using a chemical exfoliant that has salicylic acid or glycolic acid to calm the inflammation down and gradually smooth out the bumps over time. “If that doesn’t work, see a dermatologist or an esthetician, who can properly treat you,” advised Engelman. Treatment options are known to include the use of topical medication tretinoin (Retin-A) to exfoliate the area and treat the redness.
“Blackheads consist of the same thing as whiteheads–pores that become clogged with oil–except the oil has oxidized after being exposed to the air, giving it a black or brownish hue,” said Schlessinger. “Squeezing them forces the bacteria even deeper and causes trauma to the skin.”
What to do? Use ingredients that are meant to deal with blackheads like salicylic acid and retinol. These types of exfoliators help promote cell turnover and prevent dead skin cells from further plugging up your pores.Related: 11 Signs of Melanoma Skin Cancer
To remove the oil and dirt from clogged pores without picking at your blackheads or applying pressure, use an exfoliating face wash like Biore Complexion Clearing Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser. “It will work to bring the blackhead to the skin’s surface, leaving you with a fresh face in just days,” said Engelman.