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Milia, which are tiny white bumps that appear on the skin, can be a frustrating skin concern for many. If you’re wondering whether squalene, a popular skin care ingredient, can cause milia, you’re at the right place.
While the exact cause of milia is not fully understood, they can be influenced by various factors, including clogged pores and excessive oil production. (1)
Squalene is a natural, lightweight, and noncomedogenic (non-pore-clogging) moisturizing ingredient derived from plants (2) that is well-tolerated by most skin types. So, squalene is unlikely to cause milia.
However, individual reactions may vary. Read on to find out more.
Milia are small white bumps that appear on the skin, commonly on the face. They are harmless and often resolve on their own without leaving scars.
Squalene is a natural lipid produced by skin cells and is a component of sebum. It helps to moisturize and protect the skin.
Unlike other substances or ingredients that can clog the pores and lead to milium formation, squalene is lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin without causing blockages. It is considered safe and noncomedogenic, meaning it does not clog the pores or contribute to the development of milia. (2)
Note: It’s important to note that everyone’s skin is different, and squalene may not suit your skin. If you have specific concerns about milia or your skin, it’s always best to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice.
Here are some ingredients to avoid and a brief explanation of why they can cause milia.
The two most commonly used agents for occlusive activity or barrier formation on skin are liquid paraffin and white petrolatum.
They create a layer on the skin that is impermeable to water, thereby blocking transepidermal water loss, which is good for maintaining moisturization and is useful in the case of skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis. (3)
However, these ingredients also cause greasy or oily skin, which may result in the development of acne or other issues such as milia.
Silicones are commonly used in various products such as skin care and healthcare treatments, and they are believed to be safe for humans. However, some studies and experts have raised concerns about their potential effects.
The ability of silicones to accumulate and degrade in the body, as well as their potential toxicity, is also influenced by their molecular weight and structure. Low molecular weight siloxanes, in particular, have been found to pose these concerns. (4)
According to experts, if silicones are used very frequently, they may contribute to the development of milia by hindering the natural shedding of dead skin cells.
The following are the possible causes of milia according to experts and researchers: (5)
- Excessive friction by harsh exfoliators or rubbing
- Trauma to the skin by radiotherapy or burns
- Medications/creams containing glucocorticoids or 5-fluorouracil
- Genetic cause or presence of family history
To manage milia at home, follow these measures: (6)
- Ensure you get good sleep every night.
- Maintain a good skin care hygiene.
- Avoid using oil-based makeup products.
- Apply ice covered with cloth to your milia.
- Place a cotton ball dipped in warm water on your milia.
Does the body naturally produce squalene?
Yes, the body naturally produces squalene.
Can squalene contribute to milium formation?
Squalene itself does not contribute to milium formation.
Can other factors contribute to the development of milia?
Yes, factors such as excessive sun exposure, certain medications, and genetic predisposition can contribute to milia.
Can milia be prevented?
While it’s not always possible to prevent milia, maintaining a proper skin care routine and avoiding skin trauma may help reduce the risk.
How is milia treated?
Milia can resolve on their own, but if needed, they can be treated by a dermatologist through techniques such as extraction or chemical peels.
Can squalene-based products be used on sensitive skin?
Yes, squalene-based products are generally suitable for sensitive skin.
Should milia be popped or squeezed?
It is not recommended to pop or squeeze milia at home, as it may lead to skin damage or infection.
No direct evidence suggests that squalene causes milia. Squalene is a natural component of the skin and is generally well tolerated.
However, individual experiences and skin sensitivities may vary. It’s always advisable to patch-test new skin care products containing squalene before using them and to consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns about milia or your skin health.