Those annoying white bumps that form on the face are called millia. They’re common and tough to get rid of. Millia are caused by dead skin cells that have become trapped instead of exfoliating naturally, and have turned into hard keratin-filled cysts. They look like whiteheads that are refusing to come to the surface. Sun exposure can be a cause, as can skincare products that are too rich and heavy.
- Exfoliate regularly with an enzyme-based product (not on the eyelids, however). Try Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant $134 (1) which contains papain enzyme plus salicylic acid, or Pure Fiji Exfoliating Scrub $50 with its blend of fruit enzymes and micro-granules to lift away impurities without scratching the skin.
- Choose light hydrating moisturisers rather than thick ones. Products containing retinol can help ease the problem. Try Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturiser SPF 30 $39.95 (2) or, if you’re looking for a stronger solution of retinol than you’ll find in an over-the-counter range, see a dermatologist.
- Protect skin from the sun using an oil-free product, such as Murad Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30 $54 (3).
- Avoid wearing a thick mask of heavy make-up to try to hide the millia as this will block pores.
- In very stubborn cases, a dermatologist or facialist can lance the millia and extract it, although this is tricky in the eye area. If the problem is widespread, then other expert treatments, such as laser, may be an option. Don’t squeeze them yourself, as you may cause scarring.
Raised, inflamed and sometimes itchy, red bumps around the mouth, chin, nose and outer corner of the eyes may be a condition known as perioral dermatitis. This can be caused by hormonal changes or sensitivity to ingredients in products being used. In severe cases antibiotics can be prescribed, but it makes sense to try to avoid this.
- If the rash is bad, then wash the area with warm water only, and don’t use any face creams on it. Steer clear of steroid creams too.
- Avoid products containing sodium laureth sulphate. This is a frothing agent used in facial cleansers and shampoos that can be an irritant. Try Evolu Regulating Gel Cleanser $39.99 (4), which uses the native plant kumerahou to create a lather instead. For hair, there’s a new high-performance, sulphate-free range called Ecru New York that’s worth checking out. Try Ecru Sea Clean Shampoo $30 (5).
- Steer clear of ointments containing petrolatum and usea soothing moisturiser such as The Organic Skin Co Calming Calendula Cream $38 (6). Keep your skincare routine as gentle and simple as you can.
- If you’re prone to rashes of tiny pimples, switch to a more natural laundry detergent.
- If you’re troubled by blackheads, treat yourself to a Dermalogica MediBac Deep Clearing Facial.
- And if you suffer from eczema, switch to a soap-free cleanser.