SKINCARE || My Top 5 Affordable Products for Closed Comedones, Milia Prone Skin and Those Little Bumps Under the Skin

Oh lord. Milia. If you've followed me for a while now, you may recall that I've been battling on and off with milia for what se...

Products for Clogged Pores Comedones Milia Whiteheads Work

Oh lord. Milia. If you've followed me for a while now, you may recall that I've been battling on and off with milia for what seems like an age. We're like Ross and Rachel really: will they (disappear)? Won't they (disappear)?

Now for a brief history of time my skin. I have oily/combination skin that's also dehydrated, it's relatively clear but I've suffered with tiny hard bumps under the skin for a number of years. They don't even have a whitehead, they just look like little bumps. These little bumps are usually undetectable until you look really closely, but in certain lighting conditions, you can't miss them. I can also feel them when I'm applying moisturiser or serum, which is really annoying. Is it too much to ask just to have smooth skin, pls?

So what are these bumps, then? According to my research, they're commonly known as Milia, but they also go by several other names - blocked pores, closed comedones, 'little bastards', 'I hate you' and 'why won't you go away and stop ruining my life?'. The latter three are completely unscientific.

Over the years, I've worked my way through all manner of tubs, tubes and bottles of various different products in order to get rid of them. One of the most effective products at doing this is called Duac, which is a prescription treatment that is essentially Benzoyl Peroxide with an antibiotic. I peeled like a snake for the first few weeks, but once the shedding was complete, I had the smoothest skin - it looked flawless. Of course, there are a couple of issues with Duac: for one, it's prescription only, and I don't have a doctor friend, and two, I didn't want to build up a tolerance to antibiotics. I'd much rather it worked for me when I was actually ill than just to clear up my face. I did purchase some Benzoyl Peroxide from Boots though, and it left me with dry, flaky skin. Basically, it didn't work.

All is not lost though, as I have discovered some pretty fantastic products that have been able to dissolve the gunk from my pores, reduce the number of milia bumps drastically and in some circumstances, wipe them out completely, and the texture of my skin is so much smoother. I'm no skincare expert though, I haven't got a degree in dermatology and I know that products tend to work differently for different people, so I'm just going to tell you what's worked for me, in the hope it may help you find the right product for your own skin.

So without further ado, I present to you the 5 products that heroically blitzed the milia that were blighting my face:


  Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid Review Milia Comedones

Cosrx is a Korean brand with a cult following, and I can totally see why. Their two most popular products are the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (can you guess what it does?), and the AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. They clearly like to make their product names relevant to what they actually do.

The BHA Blackhead Power Liquid contains BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), or as it's otherwise known, Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is commonly used to fight acne, as it's an anti-inflammatory and exfoliator. I purchased both the BHA and AHA from Cosrx. Paula's Choice also offer products containing BHA, specifically targeted at acne-prone skin.

But back to the AHA Whitehead Power Liquid, it contains AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). There are a whole host of AHAs, but Cosrx have elected to go with a synthetic 7% Glycolic Acid and a natural AHA of Apple Water.

Glycolic Acid has become increasingly popular in the UK and US in recent years, with the rise of Nip+Fab and Pixi in particular, but what does it do? My research tells me that basically, we have some gunky gluey type substance on the upper layer of our skin that holds on to all the horrible dead skin cells. Glycolic acid removes that gunky glue, combats wrinkles, reduces hyper pigmentation and smoothens the texture of your skin.

Cosrx' AHA Whitehead Power Liquid also contains a small amount of Niacinamide, which has all sorts of benefits when used in skincare products, such as boosting collagen production (great for anti-ageing) and using its anti-inflammatory properties to tackle acne.

Now that the science part is over and done with, let's get back to the actual product. It's a clear, runny liquid which you pump out of the bottle. I would use this after toning the skin, by applying 1 or 2 pumps all over the face with my fingers, and letting it sink in to the skin for 5-10 minutes. Then I apply my serum and moisturiser on top.

I consistently used this product for months, in conjunction with my serum (more on that next), and can happily report that it actually dissolved the gunk from my pores, thus massively reducing the amount of bumps on my skin. It certainly wasn't an 'overnight' cure for the closed comedones though, it took a couple of weeks for me to start visibly noticing that they were disappearing.

The overall effect on my skin was most impressive though - the texture was much, much softer, and I could barely feel any bumps on the skin. It appeared a lot brighter and fresher, and my pores had dramatically reduced in size. With oily/combination skin, it's a common occurrence to find larger pores dotted around the skin, but this magical bottle of clear liquid appeared to have reduced the size of them too. Hallelujah!

I must also point out that whilst using this product, I eliminated all abrasive exfoliating products such as facial scrubs from my routine as I did not want to suffer from the effects of over-exfoliation - yep this is a thing - and I also slathered on plenty of SPF in the morning, as AHAs are known to increase sensitivity to the sun.

You can purchase Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid **HERE** for £13.88


The Ordinary Niacinamide Milia Whiteheads Comedones

The Ordinary burst on to the scene last year, and have been making waves with their anti-BS approach, affordable prices and effective treatments. I remember when they first launched, I was a little overwhelmed by the choice! I purchased a few products, but the one I'm going to talk about first is their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Catchy name, huh? 

The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (it's even hard to type this), is targeted at those who suffer from congested skin and have blemishes and is supposed to help reduce those. It's essentially a serum that can be layered with other serums and have moisturiser applied on top. It's a clear liquid that dries pretty quick upon contact with the skin, so you might find yourself using more than you would with an ordinary serum (See what I did there?) to cover your entire face. I found the best way to reduce the amount used was to dot it onto one area of the skin, massage it in, and then move on to another area. It sinks in within seconds, and leaves your skin looking mattified.

After a couple of weeks applying this religiously day and night, I was finding that it wasn't really doing a great deal for me. I mean, it was reducing the oiliness of my face, but aside from that? Nothing. Until, that is, I introduced the aforementioned Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid in to my routine.

I switched it all around a bit, and started using The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% in the mornings only, and the Cosrx at night only. That's when I started to notice a significant difference. Over the weeks, my skin started to look much less congested, my milia slung its hook and wandered off in to the sunset and my pores started looking a lot smaller. The combination of The Ordinary and Cosrx really worked. Alone, they gave minor improvements, but together. Oh together, they took over the world *evil cackle*.

You can purchase The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from ASOS **HERE** for £5.00 or from Amazon **HERE** for £6.90!

I could have chosen to layer the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% on top of the Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid at night, but I decided that this combination rolled off the tongue just a little too easily, and decided to go for something a little more complicated...


The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension Review Milia Comedones Whiteheads

By now, like me, you're probably thinking there must be an opening in the branding and naming department at The Ordinary. At first, the name Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% seems a little intimidating, complicated and difficult to refer one of your friends to it in mid-conversation, but actually, I only really care about whether it works or not. So the fact it had Vitamin C in it, and was a serum was an instant attraction, as my skin has always responded pretty well to Vit C.

Vitamin C has always helped to even out my skin tone, speed up the fading process of acne scarring, brighten up my skin and stop any emerging acne from appearing. The problem is, I've always found that it stops working after a while and I've never known why, until The Ordinary released their own version, that is. The formula is water free which is critical when it comes to Vitamin C. Most Vitamin C creams available are either too thick, decreasing the exposure to the skin, or to combat this, they add water, which dilutes the Vitamin C and overtime decreases it's effectiveness.

They've not held back with the Vitamin C either, a whopping 23% dosage! The product itself is a creamy gel, but due to the lack of water in the formula you can feel the grittiness of the L-Ascorbic Acid powder. So after I apply the Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and let it sink in, I take a blob of the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% into my hand and apply a little drop of water to the creamy gel formula. This dissolves the powder into the cream and therefore removes the grittiness, meaning I can now apply it all over the face.

This product does sting a little upon application, but not to the point of it becoming unbearable, however over time my skin has built up a tolerance and I only feel a mild tingle. The finish is quite oily, which I don't mind, as I'm applying at night. I let it sink in for around 5 to 10 minutes before applying my moisturiser on top.

Over the weeks, my acne scars started to fade away a lot quicker than they would do usually, my skin generally looked a lot brighter and felt much plumper, which I put down to the Hyaluronic Acid within the formula. What's great about this product is that it costs just £5, much cheaper than any of the 'meh' serums you come across in the likes of Boots or Superdrug.

You can get your hands on The Ordinary's Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% for £5 from ASOS **HERE** or from Amazon for £6.99 **HERE**


Aztec Indian Healing Clay Whiteheads Milia Comedones

The Aztec Secret Healing Clay Mask is another one of those cult products, and with good reason too. It's dirt cheap, and it works! It's essentially clay in a tub, all you have to do is mix a little bit of the clay powder in a bowl with water, and voila, you have a mask!

It might sound like a little bit of a faff, but it's so, so worth it. The tub contains one pound (in weight) of clay powder, and this has lasted me forever. I've been using it for over a year now, and I've noticed a huge difference in my skin over that time.

Once I've mixed the clay and water into a nice smooth paste (if there are any lumps in there, just mash them up) I apply the mixture all over my face and leave to to dry. It takes around 30-40 minutes to dry, which is much longer than most other clay masks, and it begins to tingle a little, gradually building up to a pulsating feeling, giving me the impression that my pores all have their own little heartbeats. In truth, this is a bit uncomfortable! It's also a bit awkward to rinse off, as it latches on to the skin. I tend to wipe it off with a damp flannel and rinse away any excess with water.

So this isn't exactly a glowing review so far, but hear me out. Because once it's actually off my face, my skin looks completely different. First off, it looks a bit red, however it's also more clarified and my pores have instantly shrunk. It's as though it's dived into each and every pore and given it a damn good clear-out. To me, this is a detoxifying mask, so if your skin feels congested or if you're acne or milia prone, I'd recommend this mask 100%. It is also quite drying, so be sure to moisturise well afterwards!

At the moment, I'm using this mask once a week to clean out the gunk from my pores, but it does have more than one use. If you feel a nasty zit coming on (shout out to my hormones), I apply a tiny mixture of this onto the zit and leave it on overnight. Next morning, the spot appears much calmer and, I kid you not, has shrunk in size. Another usage is actually around the armpits. The accumulation of deodorants in the pits just can't be good, so I apply some of the mixture there too, and have found that even my pits are so much smoother!

It's final selling point is it's price. I've had this for over a year now, and I've still got a fair amount left. This was definitely money well spent, and it only works out to be £11.40 on Amazon **HERE**. 


Pixi Glow Peel Pads Milia Whiteheads Texture Review

This is one of my product raves from 2016, and now that we're a quarter of the way through 2017, I'm still standing by it. Pixi Skintreats Glow Peel Pads are simply a must for those with milia prone skin.

The tub contains 60 pads soaked in the 20% Glycolic Acid solution. Usage is pretty simple: cleanse your face with your product of choice, allow it to dry, then take one pad and wipe it all over your face. You leave it to set in for 2-3 minutes, bearing in mind 20% Glycolic is pretty strong do NOT leave it on any longer than that. After 2-3 minutes, rinse it off with cold water. That glycolic acid will make your skin tingle when you start wiping, and if you've been threading your face, it will actually sting like a bitch, so I'd avoid those areas!

Within just a couple of days using the Glow Peel Pads I started to notice a difference, it feels as though the Glycolic Acid has dissolved the gunk present in my pores. After a week's usage, I started to notice the milia were slowly beginning to disappear and the texture of my skin was much smoother, so much so, I found that my foundation was applying with ease each morning.

For a full in-depth review of Pixi's Skintreats Glow Peel Pads, click HERE.

I'll be honest though, I don't use the Glow Peel Pads as often as I did last year, as I'm now using the Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid which also contains glycolic acid, and I'm really conscious of putting myself in danger of over-exfoliating my skin. If you're not using any other high-strength Glycolic Acid products however, I'd thoroughly recommend these pads though.

And there you have it, my top 5 products for milia prone skin! I stand by all of these products, they're all just as affordable as they are effective. They're all staples within my current skin care routine, with Pixi being the exception, but that's more to do with the over-exfoliation potential.

As I mentioned at the outset, I am not a skincare expert, I am just making you aware of what has worked for me on my skin, but I hope that you've found this to be useful. 

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  1. Omg thats what they're called! I have had these my whole life, on my eye-lids and also cheeks, I've just left them alone if they stay small but when they get big i've resorted popping them out using a pin or a needle. I'll have to try these, thank you so much for sharing!

    Sophia x

  2. OK, FIRSTLY: HI, I'M YOUR SILENT READER LOL. smh I'm always too lazy to comment so that's probs my fault.

    SECONDLY, YAY FOR THIS POST. I have the same problem (exactly) like you - oily/combo skin that's dehydrated and milia is one of my main issue behind cystic/hormonal acne -__- life eh? Great to hear that Cosrx helped you out - I bought the BHA one but haven't tried it out yet so will see how that goes. For me, AHA seems to work better but I'm keen to test out BHA for a more 'effective' routine?? I might get the AHA one at some point too but don't want to overwhelm my skin too much! I use the Madara GLOW mask (AHA based) and it works really well for a 'quick fix' especially for those painful bumps!

    I also have the Niacinamide serum from Ordinary, but I literally started using it this week. I actually reaallly like it, it does seem like it has calmed down my redness/inflammation but I guess I gotta keep going to see results. I have bad back acne (LIFE AGAIN) so I'm trialling it out on there too. I also got the Alpha Arbutin 2% but will try that out once the big crazy painful spots calm down for the hyperpigmentation and scarring...

    The Pixi pads is pretty high in %, I didn't realise!

    ANYWAY - glad I'm not the only one struggling while alllll my friends have perfectly smooth skin. And so glad to hear that the products have worked out well for you; often I find that people make these bold claims about how it's transformed their skin but their skin was good to begin with / do not have the same skin issues and it's all a big hype.

    Cherie ✿ sinonym

  3. Great post, don't have any of the conditions you mentioned but I do get oily skin and spots from time to time so will definitely look into trying some of these!

  4. I love the Ordinary and their products! I heard so many good things from Pixi but couldn't get my hands on it. Will have a look at their range next time I'm in the UK.
    Lea, xx

  5. Best. Post. ever!!! Yes!! Yes!!! I am saving this as I needing all of these products. So well detailed and amazing thank you so so so much!!! You have answered all my questions that nobody has been able to help me with. xx

    Style & Life by Susana -

  6. Oh my god man. Everything that Lima touches is magic!! I've been meaning to order the Ordinary products for the longest time and was literally on a cusp of doing it and now there's 343232 other products I want to try. Tara.
    I definitely think it's dead difficult to find products that work these days. There's just so many of them and most of them do work but they don't sweep you off your feet - they're just alright. I find that the Banish products I blogged about (the little needly roller) are amazing, they proper work. And the Alpha Gold does too. Vichy and La Roche Posay work for me pretty much every single time. The rest - meh. I've ran out of the Alpha Gold one so was gonna pick up the Pixi Glow Tonic but will have a look at the pads as well. The Aztec Mask for the pits sounds SO GOOD - I have really dark hair (and hairs!) so even though I epilate I still get that five o'clock shadow there which I really do think is just antiperspirant blockage. I have a mask from Kiehl's that sounds really similar so I might try it first! xx

  7. Great presentation! All the products seem promising to me. I have already used a few products from The Ordinary collection and i love them. I would love to try Pixi pads.

  8. The Aztec clay sounds amazing, I've been pondering over whether or not to buy it for a few months now. Love the sound of the korean beauty range too, sounds fab! xx

  9. love love LOVE this post Halima!! And your writing style is so entertaining 🤣
    I had this stubborn MIlia spot on my chin for a good couple weeks, no matter how much I exfoliated or used Alpha Gold on it, it wouldn't budge and I couldn't have it sitting there messing up my swatch videos so I thought let me try Pixi Glow Tonic after reading your post on the pads last year and it did the job!

    Definitely a bookmarkable blog post, bet it wasn't easy to write with them damned long names but I appreciate it all the more 🙌🏽

  10. Hello! I also suffer from Milia since my early teens (I'm in my 20s) I'm trying to find new skincare routine that can help prevent Milia. What moisturisers would you suggest?

  11. Hey! This was so helpful as I do also suffer from milia (ever since I was a kid). Do you use other facial oil/serums?? I've always wanted to try rosehip oil but I don't know if it wil trigger my milia prone skin :/


    1. Hey!

      I feel your pain! I use the organic rosehip oil by the Ordinary, my skin gets on well with it and doesn't cause any milia outbreaks. As for moisturiser, something that isn't too heavy, I'd suggest a gel, something that is hydrating like Clinique's Moisture Surge!


  12. I have very dry sensitive skin and recently I’ve been having bad milia breakouts. Would the Cosrx and the Ordinary products be too harsh on my skin? Also what moisturizer would you recommend?


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