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Learn About Milia—Little Bumps On Newborn Skin Like Baby Acne

Mar 02, 2021 | 1 minute Read

Babies can arrive with bumps on their skin at birth and milia is one such bump! These harmless tiny blemishes will resolve on their own with no help needed from us.

The more you know about your baby’s sensitive skin, and what to expect, the more confident you will feel when caring for them.

What does milia look like?

Milia, sometimes called “milk spots,” looks like tiny white or yellowish bumps, often found in little patches or individually. They are found mostly on the face, typically on the nose, chin, forehead, or cheeks of about 40% of newborns.

What causes milia?

Milia comes in a white and yellow variety and are thought to be caused by different reasons. The white bumps are thought to be from keratin (a protein in the skin) filled epithelial cysts.

The yellow variety, most often seen on the nose, are thought to be due to immature sebaceous glands (in the skin) and mom’s hormones. These little bumps can look quite similar and are harmless!

How can I treat baby acne?

Just like with newborn rash, and newborn acne, these are harmless blemishes and will resolve on their own without any help needed from us! They do not itch or cause pain.

Here are some good basic skin care tips for your baby’s sensitive skin:
  • Wash your newborn’s face every day with warm water on a soft washcloth and pat dry.
  • Do not use lotions or ointments meant for adults
  • Don’t try to pick, pop, or rub (exfoliate) the little bumps – your baby’s own body will take care of them!
For more information on baby skin rashes and birthmarks visit Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks (seattlechildrens.org).

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.