Why does milia (whiteheads appear on the face and neck?

Our faces are exposed to different things including the elements of weather, industrial gases that are released into the atmosphere and even harsh chemicals in the name of makeup. The result of all this is a face that is clogged and bumpy hence acne attack. Most people who have acne simply refer to them as pimples not knowing exactly what kind of a pimple they have to deal with. This is the same case with milia also known as whiteheads.

What are whiteheads?

Whiteheads are small rounded white bumps. They are not so serious but this mild form of acne can cause damage to your face’s reputation. Whiteheads occur as a result of skin pores being clogged with dead skin cells, sebum and other types of debris. The pore turns white in color when it is covered with a thin layer of skin. And no, whiteheads are not limited to your face. They can appear on your chest, neck, and back too.

Over 25 million people in Canada battle acne every year and whiteheads are included in the list. No matter how mild this form of acne seems to be, they are a source of great discomfort physically and emotionally. This is also because not all whiteheads are small and well behaved, some go all the way and become a facial disaster. These are not painful but can make someone feel embarrassed or even worse, people might lose their confidence altogether.

Other Causes of Whiteheads

Whiteheads do not only occur because of harsh weather. There are other causes that you can work on but there are those that are as a result of natural factors and therefore you cannot stop the whiteheads from  ‘ attacking ‘. Some of the causal factors that you can handle are lifestyle habits and cleansing routines but when it comes to genetics then you simply are on another level of countering acne. Life events also play a role in the amount of acne produced in your pores. If your skin produces plenty of oil then you be sure of more whiteheads. So some of the causes of whiteheads are:

  • Stress
  • Lifestyle
  • Genes
  • Puberty
  • Hormonal changes


This is the life stage where hormonal changes increase the body’s oil production. The excess oil then blocks the pores and inhibits the skin from expelling bacteria and dead skin cells hence whiteheads.


In conjunction with scientists, dermatologists have proven a link between stress and acne breakouts. This is because the same cells that produce sebum are also hosts to stress hormone receptors. This means that when a person is highly stressed, the oil-producing cells go unchecked which lead to more sebum production and higher chances of pores being blocked. There is usually a bigger problem when it comes to stress caused acne. This is because stress can become a vicious cycle when left unsolved hence resulting in a whitehead cycle.

Hormonal Changes

When it comes to hormones, one gender is most affected and that is the female one. During pregnancy, hormones fluctuate a lot. This is also the same case during menstruation. This is normally a game between estrogen and progesterone. The increase or decrease of the other brings changes that affect oil production in the glands.


They say that you are what you eat but it might as well be said is that you are what you are. Your habits are directly connected with acne production. It is important also to be aware of your trigger factors. Is it chocolate that gets your oil glands working? If it is then you need to do chocolate in moderation.


If your parents had acne related problems then you can be definitely sure that you will suffer the same fate. Genes play a role in determining how sensitive your skin becomes and also how you react to hormonal changes in your body. It could be a mild or strong reaction.

Are Whiteheads a Necessary Evil

Well, it can be concluded that way because as much as this type of acne can be embarrassing, it is evidence that your body is getting rid of the infection. An infected pore is simply the skin working to get rid of bacteria and as much as it looks like the whiteheads protruded over the night, truth is that your skin has been at work for two months to get rid of the dirt.