White Bumps on the Skin of My Armpits

The tiny white bumps or small cysts that form on your skin are called milia, reports the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus resource. They are frequently seen in newborn babies, but they can occur at any age and for many different reasons.

A woman has her armpit up in the air. Credit: Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images


In babies, the tiny white milia cysts typically go away without treatment. If you have developed milia under your arms, the culprit could be irritation caused by your clothing. Milia also can appear on other parts of your body if you have inflamed or irritated skin.


Milia is sometimes called baby acne, even though it has no connection to that skin problem. Your skin is continually shedding tiny flakes, and milia under your arms occurs when the dead flakes are trapped in small pockets near the surface of your skin. This results in the tiny epidermal cysts you can see and feel. The products you use on your skin can contribute to trapping the flakes.


Milia are not painful and generally do not itch, ooze or bleed. They can appear suddenly and spontaneously. Milia can appear following skin trauma or laser ablations and look like tiny, hard, white cysts just under the surface of your skin.


Removal is the only treatment. You should keep your skin clean and dry and avoid squeezing the tiny cysts. Your dermatologist or aesthetician can remove your milia by making a tiny hole in the cyst with a needle and extracting the contents. This can be a good option if you have only a few bumps. The therapists at Lakeview Dermatology suggest treatment with a Diolite laser. This therapy is used when someone has many milia present. According to Lakeview Dermatology, the laser can treat between 50 to 100 milia in about 20 to 30 minutes.


There are many causes of skin bumps. See your healthcare provider to determine the cause of yours and discuss the best way to treat or manage your particular symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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