Causes of small bumps on your skin

korean skincare toronto for milia, whiteheads, closed comedones, enlarged pores, and fungal acne


Understanding common forms of small textured bumps on the skin, how to identify and treat milia, closed comedones/whiteheads, fungal acne, and keratosis pilaris. 

When it comes to skincare concerns, one of the most confusing aspects can be identifying skin bumps. These can be stubborn and mis-identifying can lead to the wrong treatments and aggravate the problems. Thankfully, if you know what to look for, it's pretty easy to identify what condition it is, so you can tailor your skincare routine for healthier, smoother skin.


What is it? Milia are small, white, pearly bumps that typically appear on the face, especially around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. They occur when dead skin cells get trapped in the skin's surface, forming tiny cysts.

What causes it? Milia can develop due to a variety of reasons, including sun damage, excessive use of heavy skincare products, or even genetic predisposition.

What it looks like? Milia appear as small, raised bumps with a white or yellowish color and a smooth texture.

Where on the body it shows up? Milia usually show up on the face, but they can occasionally appear on the neck, chest, or other parts of the body.

How to treat it? Milia often resolve on their own over time, but for quicker removal, a dermatologist can use specialized techniques like extraction. To prevent milia, avoid using heavy creams or oily products and make sure to exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells

Closed Comedones and Whiteheads

What are they? Closed comedones, commonly known as whiteheads, are small, flesh-colored bumps that appear on the skin. They are a type of acne and are formed when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria.

What causes them? Hormonal changes, genetics, and the use of comedogenic (pore-clogging) skincare or makeup products can contribute to the development of closed comedones and whiteheads.

What they look like? Whiteheads are tiny, round or oval-shaped bumps with a white or yellowish "head" on the skin's surface.

Where on the body they show up? Closed comedones and whiteheads are most common on the face, particularly on the forehead, nose, and chin, but they can also occur on the back, chest, and shoulders.

How to treat them? Gentle exfoliation and consistent cleansing are key to preventing and treating closed comedones and whiteheads. Over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help, but if the condition persists, it's advisable to consult a dermatologist for personalized treatment options.

Fungal Acne

What is it? Fungal acne, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis, is a type of acne caused by yeast overgrowth on the skin. It appears as small, itchy, red or white bumps that resemble acne.

What causes it? Fungal acne is triggered by the overgrowth of the yeast Malassezia on the skin, which can be exacerbated by hot and humid conditions.

What it looks like? Fungal acne presents as tiny, uniform bumps with a red or white appearance, often surrounded by inflamed skin.

Where on the body it shows up? Fungal acne commonly affects areas with higher oil production, such as the forehead, chest, and back.

How to treat it? Antifungal treatments like topical ketoconazole or pyrithione zinc can be effective in treating fungal acne. Additionally, keeping the affected areas clean and dry can help prevent further outbreaks.

Keratosis Pilaris

What is it? Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition characterized by rough, bumpy skin, resembling "chicken skin."

What causes it? It occurs when keratin, a protein found in the skin, clogs hair follicles, leading to the formation of small, hardened plugs.

What it looks like? Keratosis pilaris appears as small, flesh-colored or red bumps with a rough texture.

Where on the body it shows up? Keratosis pilaris most commonly affects the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and sometimes the face.

How to treat it? Regular exfoliation and moisturizing can help improve the appearance of keratosis pilaris. Look for products with ingredients like lactic acid or urea, which can help soften the bumps. Avoid picking or scratching the affected areas, as it may worsen the condition.

While some can be managed with simple skincare adjustments, others may require professional intervention. Remember, consistency and patience are key to achieving a clearer, smoother complexion, and you should never be picking or extracting these bumps at home as it could lead to permanent tissue damage and scarring. If in doubt, always consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment.


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