Skincare Products » Best Milia Removal Products

Best Milia Removal Products That Work

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Milia are some of the tiniest yet most persistent skin concerns. These minuscule bumps can look like whiteheads, but they have a hard, solid core and take ages to go away. Unlike a pimple, a single milium can stay put for months or even years, so while the condition is mainly benign, it can still be irritating. Luckily, the best milia removal products such as creams, gels, and exfoliants can help eliminate those annoying skin bumps quickly.

We’ll cover the best milia removal products for every situation. Whether you have milia around the eyes or elsewhere on your face or body, we’ll help you find the right product that can help.

Best milia removal product overview:

How we chose the best products

To compile this list, we researched dozens of exfoliating and renewing skincare items and narrowed down our favorite milia removal products. We considered detailed product descriptions, ingredient lists, and user reviews to ensure we provide the top products for milia across various categories. We also spoke with two board-certified dermatologists for an extra expert take.

Our picks for the best milia removal products

1
Best Overall
Differin Gel for Acne Treatment
$14.99

What We Love

  • Fast-acting, clinical-strength retinoid
  • Also treats acne and clogged pores
  • Contains anti-aging benefits

What we don’t love

  • May cause purging or irritation at first
  • May be particularly irritating to sensitive skin

Milia isn’t the same as acne, but the two conditions share many similarities. Both arise when minor clogs form in the skin. With milia, the cysts are caused by trapped keratin, while acne blemishes come from a combination of trapped dead skin and sebum (which can turn into pimples if infected). It’s no surprise that many users find that Differin, a clinical anti-acne treatment, can also help eliminate milia. Differin is made with adapalene, a potent retinoid that historically was only available by prescription

Adapalene works by unclogging the pores and speeding up the shedding of dead skin cells. Adapalene is more potent than the cosmetic retinoids you’ll usually find in the skincare aisle, which means faster results but potentially more irritation. 

However, a drawback — especially for those prone to acne — is that Differin may cause initial purging. This means you might break out when you first start using the product, but the acne (or dryness) will eventually dissipate, ultimately improving acne and milia in the long term.

Product type: Acne Treatment Gel | Skin type: All but sensitive skin | Key ingredient: Adapalene

2
Best Budget
The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream
$11.49

What we love

  • Highly effective for milia removal around the eyes
  • Retinol can improve skin texture and signs of aging
  • Budget-friendly

What we don’t love

  • Not very moisturizing
  • May be irritating for some (requires slow introduction)

Since milia most commonly appear around the eyes, getting rid of them without irritating the delicate skin can be tricky. But this budget-friendly eye cream from The INKEY List can help, thanks to the vital retinol ingredient — a gentle cosmetic retinoid — compared to clinical-strength adapalene, that is.

You may already be familiar with retinol as an anti-aging ingredient, but this vitamin A derivative is also excellent in skincare for banishing milia. While it doesn’t exfoliate the skin directly, it still speeds up the process of dead skin cell shedding. Retinol encourages skin cell turnover, which can help with fine lines and texture issues around the eyes. 

It’s important to gradually introduce The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream into your routine to avoid irritation. If your skin tolerates it, you might eventually be able to use it every night. Keep in mind that it’s not as moisturizing as our top choice, so you may want to use it in conjunction with a light, hydrating eye cream.

Product type: Eye Cream | Skin type: All except very sensitive |Key ingredient: Retinol

3
Best Exfoliant
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
$10

What we love

  • Thorough and fast-acting
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great for all skin types

What we don’t love

  • Makes skin more sensitive to the sun
  • Shouldn’t be used around the eyes

This pink liquid treatment from The Ordinary is one of the most popular exfoliants you can buy, thanks to its famously low price and incredible results. This vegan formula is simple and light, so it’s suitable for all skin types.

It’s made with 7% glycolic acid, offering a thorough surface exfoliation. It’s perfect for quickly eliminating milia from the face, but it’s too harsh for the sensitive areas around the eyes. If you choose to try it, wear sunscreen regularly since AHAs make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Product type: Exfoliating toner | Skin type: All | Key ingredient: Glycolic acid (AHA)

4
Best gentle eye cream
Neostrata PHA Eye Cream
$54

What we love

  • PHA exfoliates skin to remove milia
  • Gentle enough for sensitive areas around the eyes
  • Hydrating but lightweight

What we don’t love

  • May take a while to see results
  • Pricey

This eye cream from Neostrata is on the more expensive side, but we think it’s ideal for those with sensitive skin who have bumps around the eyes. It’s much milder than our pick from The INKEY List, so it’s less likely to cause irritation. 

The main ingredient here is gluconolactone, which is used at a 4% concentration. Also known as polyhydroxy acid or PHA, this ingredient has a mild exfoliating effect. Its molecules are larger than other chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA, so it still sloughs away dead skin but with a lower risk of irritation. Regular use can help speed up the skin’s natural shedding cycle to help milia disappear quickly on its own. Since it’s so mild, it can be used up to two times per day, but this also means that it may take longer to notice results. 

This formula is also very hydrating, thanks to ingredients such as the aforementioned PHA, plus hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Its texture is very light, so unlike heavier creams, there’s minimal risk that it’ll make milia worse.

Product type: Eye cream | Skin type: All | Key ingredient: Gluconolactone (PHA)

5
Best spot treatment
Paula’s Choice BHA 9 Treatment
$46

What we love

  • Ideal for spot treating milia
  • BHA can penetrate through oils to address deeper concerns
  • Can also reduce breakouts

What we don’t love

  • Too intense for using all over the face
  • Small tube

If you’d like to target your bumps directly, Paula’s Choice BHA 9 Treatment is one of the most potent milia products to try. Its formula contains a very high percentage of salicylic acid, an exfoliating ingredient that can penetrate through sebum and potentially do a better job with more deep-seated plugs. It’s also fantastic for minimizing the look of pimples and bumps. 

This BHA percentage is too high to use all over the face or for milia prevention, but if you’re after fast results, it may work better than some of the other options on our list.
For a more gentle treatment that you can use all over the face to address both acne and milia, we’re also big fans of Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Product type: Spot treatment | Skin type: Combination and oily | Key ingredient: Salicylic acid

6
Best wipes
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
$79.50

What we love

  • Powerful combination of multiple milia-removing ingredients
  • Includes skin-renewing retinol and vitamin C
  • May remove milia that have been resistant to other treatments

What we don’t love

  • Wipe formate is a little wasteful
  • Not the best for dry skin
  • Expensive

These Alpha Beta Extra Strength two-step peel pads treat milia while bringing out your skin’s natural, radiant glow. The first pad is a powerful exfoliant with glycolic and salicylic acid, while the second pad brightens and renews the skin with retinol and vitamin C. 

If your milia have been resistant, this combination of multiple exfoliants might help it fade more quickly than trying individual treatments. Just note that since these pads are made especially for oily skin, they may be drying for those with other skin types.

Product type: Peel pads | Skin type: Oily, normal, combination | Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinol

7
Best cleanser
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
$43.20

What we love

  • Dual-method exfoliation
  • Fast acting against milia
  • Convenient exfoliation and cleansing in one

What we don’t love

  • Too intense for the eye area
  • Not appropriate for sensitive skin
  • Shouldn’t be used daily

If your skin is pretty tough, combining physical and chemical exfoliation can be a great way to eliminate milia. This convenient cleanser addresses milia by loosening up dead skin cells with AHA and BHA. Then, it physically scrubs away those cells with jojoba spheres. 

Using this product is a very convenient way of eliminating milia since it also cleanses your skin while exfoliating it. It’s also easy to introduce into your routine if you don’t like layering a lot of steps. However, this dual-action cleanser can be intense, so you shouldn’t use it daily.

Product type: Cleanser | Skin type: All except sensitive | Key ingredients: Glycolic and lactic acids, salicylic acid

8
Best gentle treatment
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
$86

What we love

  • Gentle milia prevention for sensitive skin
  • Improve skin texture and fine lines
  • Moisturizing but not greasy

What we don’t love

  • Slow acting
  • Expensive

This hydrating face cream from Murad is marketed as an anti-aging treatment, but it’s also a great milia removal cream for those with sensitive skin. It’s made with a high percentage of retinol to improve and renew your skin — but not too high that it’ll irritate. 

When it comes to fighting milia, results may take a while to show up, but you won’t have to worry about irritating your skin. In addition to addressing bumps, this product can also help with other skin texture issues and fine lines. The non-greasy formula will hydrate you without feeling heavy.

Product type: Moisturizer | Skin type: Balanced, oily, combination, dry | Key ingredient: Retinol

9
Best moisturizer
CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough and Bumpy Skin
$36.70

What we love

  • Gentle milia prevention for face and body
  • Hydrates and softens skin
  • Can also help with acne or keratosis pilaris

What we don’t love

  • Slow acting
  • May not work on severe milia

If you’d like to save steps in your routine, this budget-friendly moisturizer from CeraVe can address your milia while also keeping your skin hydrated. It promotes exfoliation with salicylic acid, also helping to reduce other kinds of bumps like acne. The formula also contains glycerin and ceramides to keep the skin supple and hydrated both on your face and body.

Because it’s so gentle, you may find that it only works as a preventative treatment, especially if your milia is severe, but it can be a good choice for sensitive skin. It comes in a large container for a very reasonable price, but we wish the packaging were slightly prettier.

Product type: Moisturizer | Skin type: All | Key ingredient: Salicylic acid

10
Best body scrub
First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub 10% AHA
$30

What we love

  • Strong enough for milia on the body
  • Dual-action physical and chemical exfoliation
  • Also helpful against keratosis pilaris

What we don’t love

  • Not safe for the face
  • Easy to overuse

Milia on the body isn’t common, but it’s also not entirely unheard of. The skin on the body is a little thicker than the face, which means milia can take longer to disappear. But on the bright side, the skin on your body can also handle more vigorous exfoliation.

This vegan and cruelty-free scrub is designed for those with keratosis pilaris — a condition that leads to keratin buildup and results in small, rough bumps on the skin. Keratosis pilaris bumps are not too different from milia, so the double action of this rigorous scrub can help with both.

Made with exfoliating pumice beads and 10% AHA, it resurfaces the skin thoroughly to help milia disappear. We suggest slowly introducing it into your routine since it’s easy to overuse, and you don’t want your skin to end up over-exfoliated, irritated, or dry.

Product type: Body scrub | Skin type: All except sensitive | Key ingredients: Glycolic and lactic acids, pumice beads

Saying goodbye to milia 

Fundamentally, getting rid of milia is all about renewal and exfoliation. As you exfoliate your skin and encourage the production of new skin cells, your skin releases the old ones. 

Our top overall pick for milia removal cream is a medical-grade retinoid from Differin that renews the skin comprehensively. It speeds up cell turnover and encourages dead skin cells to shed. However, cosmetic-grade retinol and exfoliants can also help with milia and tend to be less abrasive on the skin. 

How to pick the right milia removal product for you

The most effective milia removers contain ingredients that renew and exfoliate the skin. We spoke with two board-certified dermatologists, Anna Chacon, M.D., and Patricia Gaile Espinosa, to learn the ins and outs of milia removal products. 

“Regular exfoliation will help clear out damaged skin cells for newer and healthier skin to move on top of the epidermis,” Dr. Anna Chacon told us. Ingredients that renew and exfoliate the skin are key when it comes to choosing the right milia remover. Unfortunately, exfoliating ingredients can also be irritating. Here’s how to find the ideal balance based on your skin type and the affected area.

Skin type 

  • Oily. Many of the milia products we recommended are designed for oily, acne-prone skin, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding suitable treatments. Gels, wipes, or liquids with salicylic acid are a great starting point since they’re more oil-soluble, but you can also opt for a retinoid-based treatment like Differin. 
  • Dry. Opt for milia remover creams made with more hydrating exfoliants. AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid are humectants that can attract moisture into the skin. More importantly, ensure that the rest of your skincare routine is nourishing to keep your skin hydrated. If you’d like to keep things streamlined, opt for a moisturizing milia remover like our pick from Murad. 
  • Combination. We suggest trying out a balanced milia product that easily fits your routine. A neutral product like The Ordinary 7% AHA Exfoliating Liquid might be a good place to start. 
  • Sensitive. Finding a milia product that’s effective without being harsh might be difficult if your skin is prone to redness and irritation. But we suggest trying our mild picks from Neostrata for your eyes or CeraVe SA Lotion for your face. 

Affected area

  • Eyes. The skin around the eyes is significantly thinner than on other body parts, but it’s also where adults are most likely to experience milia. Since exfoliating the eyes can be tricky, be sure to use gentle products with low percentages of active ingredients or try skin-renewing eye creams made especially for the eyes. 
  • Face. The face can handle slightly more intense treatments than around the eyes, but you still don’t want to overdo it. Unless you have particularly tough skin, we recommend leave-on treatments with ingredients like retinol, AHA, or BHA, rather than grainy, exfoliating scrubs.  
  • Body. Combining physical and chemical exfoliation for the body can eliminate milia quickly, so our primary recommendation is KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub from First Aid Beauty. 

FAQs

What’s the best product to remove milia?

A potent, fast-acting clinical retinoid like Differin is the best choice for the face — assuming your skin can tolerate it. Since milia appear most commonly around the eyes, the best options are gentle resurfacing eye creams like our picks from The INKEY List and Neostrata. 

How do I get rid of milia ASAP?

If you want to get rid of your milia as soon as possible, you’ll need to have it removed by a medical professional. Dermatologists sometimes use cryotherapy, incision, or electrodesiccation and curettage to eliminate milia quickly but safely, according to Dr. Patricia Gaile Espinosa. Trying to extract milia at home can be dangerous and may result in scarring or an infection.  

What do dermatologists recommend for milia?

When it comes to at-home skincare for milia, dermatologists usually suggest starting with a topical retinoid-based treatment, like Differin or The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream. However, you can find other ingredients worth trying if you don’t want to use retinoids. “Some ingredients for treating milia are exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic or lactic acid and cleansers with salicylic acid,” Chacon recommended.