Cholesterol deposits are fatty-looking, slightly raised plaques in the skin near the eyes. They are either just below the eye or, more commonly, in the upper eyelid near the inner corner of the eye. The medical term for these is ‘xanthelasma’ (pronounced zan-thu-laz-ma). They usually appear gradually, are not painful, tender or itchy. They are not dangerous, because they do not turn into cancer and they do not affect the function of the eye or the eyelids. They look fatty, because that is what they are. They are collections of cells called histiocytes, bulging with fat (usually cholesterol). In some people xanthelasmas can be indicative of a raised level of harmful fats in the blood, such as high cholesterol, and the physician may recommend that the patient have their cholesterol levels checked. The only sure way to get rid of xanthelasmas is to have them removed surgically. This could be risky in the delicate area near the eye, so should be performed by a qualified surgeon.
Milia (also known as milk spots or oil seeds) are very common, benign, keratin (protein)-filled cysts within the sudoriferous (sweat) glands that present as whitish, pearly bumps on the skin, usually across cheeks, nose, chin or gums, but milia can occur anywhere on the body. Sometimes milia are caused by trauma, such as deep laser treatments, which can cause damage to the sweat glands. Milia need to be extracted either by a physician or in some cases a licensed aesthetician. Many times a topical retinoid is required for at least two months before extraction can take place.
PCA SKIN® has daily care products that can help with milia, but if you are prone to them, they may continue to appear. The products that are recommended for daily care use are: Clearskin, any one of our vitamin A products: Retinol Renewal with RestorAtive Complex, Intensive Age Refining Treatment: 0.5% pure retinol night, A&C Synergy Serum, Intensive Clarity Treatment: 0.5% pure retinol night; Gentle Exfoliant may be used weekly as well. If the milia are located on the eyelids or very close to the eyes, then consult a physician before using products that can get into the eyes. Alpha hydroxy acid-based peels will help to keep the skin exfoliated; however, do not apply peels to the delicate eye area. Treat once a month with peels appropriate for skin type.