White bumps under eyes can be milia spots, yellow cholesterol dots or even cheilazia. These white dots under eyes can affect anyone, from babies to adults.
Getting rid of them will depend on the cause. Here are details on the cause of small white spots under eyes with remedies, treatments and pictures.
What are the little white bumps under my eyes? White bumps under eyes can get you worried. The bumps are however, more often than not, benign and not a cause for concern.
Here is a comprehensive insight featuring common causes and ways to get rid of them faster.
What are they?
What are the white or yellow bumps under my eyes? This question arises every now and then in online community websites. Well, white bumps under the eyes are usually an indication of underlying conditions such as milia, chalazia etc.
Although they are usually not serious medical concerns, unless of course they are interfering with your vision, there are various interventions measures that may be used to help the bumps go away faster.
Causes of white bumps under eyes
It is common to get small white spots and dots on the skin depending on the causes. Cholesterol levels may rise and lead to yellowish white spots around your eyes (upper and lower eyelids).
In other people, especially babies, milia spots are a common occurrence. For more details, here are some common causes:
Lower exfoliation capacity
Babies’ skin is they are still learning to exfoliate as Paula Begoun, the author of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me”, puts it and as a result tends to be more prone to bumps called milia which result from a build up of dead skin cells keratin (protein) beneath the skin.
Sun damage bumps below eyes
In addition to the many adverse effects that excessive sun exposure has on the skin including sunburn, dark spots, wrinkles, and higher risk of skin cancer, it also causes thickening of skin which can set stage formation of milia that often show as white bumps under eyes.
Using oily makeup may also to blame for those bumps under eyes. According to the Live Strong website, it is a good idea to stay away from oil makeup products and makeup removers, creamy eye shadows, and thick eye creams if you are prone to milia.
Cosmetic are also often to blame for clogging of oil glands in the eyelids leading to the formation of chalazia which also causes bumps on the eyelids.
Pimples under eyes
White spots under your eyes could also be pimples. Pimples on skin occur when pores are plugged with excess oil (sebum), dirt and bacteria. As the infection develops in the pimple that results, the bump turns yellow or may appear to have white pus.
Pimples on face, under eyes and on eyelids may also be common in acne-prone skin types as well as during certain times when hormonal levels fluctuate.
Women are mostly affected during pregnancy, during period and when stressed. You can get rid of pimples early enough, otherwise dark spots under eyes or skin may form.
Just the other day, someone who didn’t leave his/her name asked, “I have a white bump under the eyes. My friend told me it is an indication of excess cholesterol in my bloodstream. Is this really true?”
Well, the said friend seems to be insinuating that the affected guy is suffering from a condition called xanthelasma which is associated with painless, yellow deposits of fat beneath the skin, usually over the upper or lower eyelids.
Xanthelasma is not a serious medical issue and tends to affect women – especially in their forties – more than men. It has a hereditary aspect and tends to occur more in people of Asian and Mediterranean region descent.
According to Medline Plus, the condition may or may not be an indication of high cholesterol levels in the blood.
All in all, it seems unlikely that the person who asked this question is suffering from xanthelasma. The bumps could easily be milia.
The National Health service says that small dots under eyes that appear as yellow spots “are mostly made up of cholesterol and can be treated cosmetically, but are also a warning sign of raised cholesterol.”
Milia under eyes
Those little white bumps under your eyes could be milia. These are small, benign, keratin-filled bumps that form when the skin is not able to exfoliate as it normally should leading to the entrapment of dead skin cells beneath the upper layer of the skin.
Milia tend to affect babies more and there is a good reason for that; their skin is still learning the ropes. Adults can however also get milia and this applies equally to both sexes. Milia are typically painless and are not a health concern.
In children they tend to appear on the nose, cheeks and chin but in adults, they tend to occur under the eyes and on the cheeks, but they can as well form on any area of skin. Milia are usually not accompanied by a rash and tend to go away without any treatment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, however, treatment is not recommended for children. Instead you will want to keep your child’s face clean and avoid using oils and lotions on the affected areas of skin until the milia have healed.
As for the adults, you may want to speed up the healing process by applying any mild exfoliating product that is safe for use near the eyes. Howard Sobel, a dermatologist based in New York City, recommends using a skin moisturizer containing exfoliating vitamin A. Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Eye Cream is a good choice.
If milia still persists a month or so down the line, or doesn’t seem to be responding to the above interventions, consult with a dermatologist.
Medical treatment options such as laser therapy, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and surgical removal may help. Topical retinoid creams and gels may as well be used to get rid of milia.
A chalazion (chalazia for plural) is a clogged oil gland that often manifests itself as a white bump on eyelid. It may appear on either of the eyelids and usually begins as a small, painful bump that then continues to grow and become less and less painful.
Unlike styes which are caused by bacterial infection of oil glands, chalazia are caused by blocking of oil glands and usually grow larger over time; sometimes become as large as a pea. Chalazia heal within one month and treatment is usually not needed.
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Since they are usually caused by different conditions, here are pictures that can help you identify your symptom.
Note that some are small spots or dots on the eyelid or area below the eye while others are big bumps.
Tiny, small or little white bumps
Symptoms of these spots can manifest in different ways depeding on the cause. For example, tiny, little or small spots around eyes are likely to be caused by pimples, milia and even chalazia dots.
On the other hand, cholesterol dots under eyelids can start as small spots and grow into big bumps near the eye if the problem is not corrected fast.
Hard white bumps
“I have hard white bump under eye. Could I be suffering from Syringomas which my mom also suffers from and I hear is hereditary?” Maryanne
Syringomas are non-cancerous bumps that are caused by a proliferation of eccrine sweat gland cells. Although they can affect people of any gender and sex, they for some reason tend to affect women more especially after puberty.
They sometimes have a familial aspect and tend to occur on the lower eyelids, forehead upper cheeks, chest, armpits, abdomen, and genitals (vulva or penis).
Syringomas bumps tend to appear in clusters rather than solitary and are typically yellow or skin-colored.
On that note, it is very unlikely that Maryanne is dealing with syringomas. It is likely that what she has at hand is a milium [see the previous section to learn more about milia].
The bump could also be a chalazion. A chalazion (blocked oil gland) usually heals in a month’s time but applying warm compresses may help to drain a chalazion faster. You will know you are dealing with a chalazion if:
- The bump is painful at first and then turns painless
- It continues to grow, sometimes attaining the size of a pea
How to get rid of white spots under eyes
So, how do you get rid of those annoying and worrisome white bumps under the eyes? Well, the treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause. Here are numerous intervention measures you may want to add to your treatment regime:
- Treatment of milia in children is not recommended according to Mayo clinic. Keeping the eyelids clean and free of any moisturizing products until the milia heal is enough
- For adult milia, applying a cleanser with salicylic acid is advisable
- You should also avoid using makeup products on the eyelids until the milia has healed and avoid thick eye creams and creamy eye shadows in the future
- Applying a retinol cream can also help. Do not use retinol creams on upper eyelid
- Exfoliate with a gentle product that can be safely used on the eyes e.g. Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift eye Cream
- Talk to a dermatologist if these interventions don’t seem to be helpful. Your eyelids may benefit from treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peeling and laser therapy. Surgical removal is also a common option.
- As for a chalazion, applying a warm compress can help. This entails dipping a washcloth in warm water, wringing out excess water, and then placing it on the chalazion until it cools off several times a day.
- Healthline: Milia Spots and Dots Below Eyes and on Skin
- Mail Online: My face is covered in white spots (milia) – how can I get rid of them?
- National Health Service: Eyelid marks are ‘sign of heart risk’
- ChetDay: Five Reasons Little White Bumps Are On Your Face and How to Get Rid Of Them