Normal baby skin rashes – ‘Milia’

What are milia?

A ‘milium’ is a small raised sebaceous cyst on the surface of the skin which is filled with a protein called ‘Keratin’. Because these spots tend to develop in clusters they are more commonly referred to in the plural ie ‘milia’.

Neonatal milia

Milia are the pin-head sized, ‘whitish’- coloured spots that are commonly seen on the skin around your newborn baby’s nose. They can also develop on your baby’s cheeks, their upper body; scalp and even sometimes inside their mouth. Because milia develop in around half of all babies, it is considered to be a very normal feature of the newborn.


What causes milia?

Milia are thought to be caused by immature sebaceous (sweat) glands which haven’t yet fully developed.


Do they need to be treated?

Milia are not harmful and do not require any treatment. As your baby’s sebaceous glands mature during the first few weeks post birth, the milia will gradually disappear on their own.

Johnson PGB (1994). Vulliamy’s the newborn child. 7th edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 176 pages.

O’Connor NR, McLaughlin MR, Ham P (2008). Newborn skin: Part I. Common rashes. American Family Physician 77(1):47-52.