What Are Hard White Bumps on my Face? White Heads?

Could you tell me what this could be and how to get rid of them. Hard white bumps on my face, that look like they are white heads, but it is hard to get anything out of them. I am going through menapase, and this has been happening lately.Thank you in advance.

Doctor Answers 16

Milia are round white bumps

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Perhaps you are describing milia? Milia are small (1 or 2 mm), round white bumps that usually happen on the head and neck. These are common in infants and in adults. In adults, they are often a sign of chronic sun damage. Milia can spontaneously rupture, drain, and resolve on their own, but this make up to 2 years. Your doctor can also extract them or lightly burn them off. They are not easily removed without the proper tools.

Summit Dermatologic Surgeon

May be milia

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Hello, it is hard to diagnose you with the information I have here, but what it sounds like is it might be Milia.  These are tiny cholesterol deposits that accumulate with age.  They look similar to a white heads, or pimple-like bumps.  There is no pore opening, so the only way to remove some milia bumps is through a lancet (needle) performed by a surgeon or a dermatologist. I hope this information helps.

A picture is worth a thousand words

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It's hard to say without seeing them.   They could be milia or cholesterol plaques.  A skin consultation would help determine the cause.   

Samer Muala, MD
Phoenix Family Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Most likely milia, regular exfoliation can help...

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Milia are not uncommon and are found in a variety of ages and skin types. They're small pearlized cysts that are formed when keratin (a substance produced by the skin), dead skin cells, oil, and other debris becomes entrapped beneath a thin layer of skin. An individual milium (the singular of milia) is formed at the base of a hair follicle or sweat gland. Milia can be remedied (and easily prevented) with regular exfoliation! You can do this with at home exfoliation by using a gentle and effective physical exfoliator, regular use of retinol, in office peels or exfoliation treatments, and also decreasing the use of topical moisturizers that are not always necessary for the overall health and functioning of your skin. Milia typically go away on their own, but if you want to make it go away more quickly a medical aesthetician can gently extract it out.


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Through Menopause your oil production can change. It sounds like they could be milia, which could be resolved with a really good facial with extractions.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Whiteheads on the face

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Thank for your question. Hard bumps beneath the skin are typically whiteheads. These are difficult to get rid of . The most common prescription used is Retin-a. You have to use this cream sparingly but for a long period of time, 2-3 months. I will also recommend washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil cleanser. It is also very important to use products that will not plug up your pores. If you look at the back of any skin care products, the good ones will tell you they are non comedogenic, which means that this will not plug up your pores.

Ben Behnam, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon

White bumps on the face

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Get yourself to a great board certified dermatologist who can help you. White bumps can be many things.  Milial cysts are common and easy to remove.  Whiteheads or closed comedones, are also common and easy to remove. 

Rebecca Baxt, MD
Paramus Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

What are These Bumps?

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I agree with all the prior answers, but will add one thing.
Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to a diagnosis and without seeing you in person, making a diagnosis is risky.

Check with your local dermatologist for the correct answer and treatment.

Michael A. Greenberg, MD
Elk Grove Village Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Milia - Treat with extraction

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Milia are small cysts filled with dead skin cells/protein that clinically appear as white bumps.  They can develop in older individuals who have had extensive sun exposure.  Milia can be easily treated by a board-certified dermatologist with an extraction technique that empties the cyst contents.  - Dr. Keaney

Terrence Keaney, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon

MIlia, small cysts

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It seems that these are small cysts or cavities, containing dead skin called keratin.

Milia can be removed by extraction by a dermatologist.

Please visit your physician for proper assessment & better management.

M. Khawar Nazir, MBBS, MS(Derm)
Pakistan Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.