Skin expert reveals different imperfections that affect the complexion
19th March 2019

Do you know what the bumps on your face REALLY are? Celebrity esthetician reveals different imperfections – and warns why some must NEVER be popped

  • Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau discussed some of the most common blemishes that can occur on the skin
  • Milia, closed comedones, skin tags and skin growths are among the most common issues Renée is faced with 
  • The skin expert described milia as hard, tiny bumps that often have an off-white color, which tend to commonly appear often around the eyes, nose, and cheeks
  • Closed comedones are non-infected clogged pores that can develop into inflammatory acne
  • She describes skin growths as benign bumps that appear flat on the skin, and can thicken and get larger over time
  • Skin tags are defined as soft, fleshy pieces of skin that are usually connected to the skin by a small ‘stem’
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Expert! Celebrity esthetician expert Renée Rouleau has explained the different types of common blemishes that occur on the skin

Celebrity esthetician and skincare expert Renée Rouleau has discussed in detail the various types of blemishes that can occur on the skin.

The A-list skincare expert, who regularly works with a number of stars including Demi Lovato, differentiated between the different kinds of ‘bumps’ that can often appear on the face, and the best ways to effectively treat them. 

Renée discussed milia, closed comedones, skin growths, and skin tags, as she revealed the best ways to detect what kind of blemish you’re dealing with.

Writing for her blog on her website, Renée said: ‘When it comes to bumps on your skin, it can be difficult to know what they are because there are so many possibilities. 

Four common skin bumps

Milia: Hard, tiny bumps that often have an off-white color. They appear often around the eyes, nose, and cheeks.

Closed comedones: Non-infected clogged pores that can turn into inflammatory acne.

Skin growths: Benign bumps that appear flat on the skin. They can thicken and get larger over time. 

Skin tags: Soft, fleshy pieces of skin that are usually connected to the skin by a small stem.

‘But knowing what you’re dealing with is an important first step and will help you determine the best course of treatment,’ she added.

The skincare expert, who works with a number of celebrities including Demi Lovato, Miranda Cosgrove and Lili Reinhart, discussed four of the most common skincare issues people come to her to seek help for. 

She said: ‘All four types of bumps share one common characteristic: they are considered non-inflammatory lesions, meaning there is generally no infection present. 

‘This means they usually don’t go away unless removed, which is why people often have them for long periods of time. They just sit there and do nothing. 

‘If a bump becomes red, inflamed or painful and comes and goes, it’s likely a type of blemish,’ she said.  

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Interesting! Renée described milia (pictured) as hard, small bumps that are an off-white color due to the hardened oil they contain. They often appear around the eyes, nose and cheeks

According to Renée, milia are ‘are hard, tiny bumps on the skin that appear when keratin and hardened oil get trapped below the skin’s surface’. 

Milia appear small, and are often referred to as tiny ‘pearls’. They contain hardened oil, which results in the bumps having an off-white color. 

‘The hardened oil gives them an off-white color in all skin tones, and they appear most commonly around the eyes, nose, and cheeks,’ Renée said. 

Milia result from a number of factors, including blistering from burns or other skin issues, sun exposure, steroid use and using heavy skin creams around the eye area.

Renée also said she has noticed a pattern in smokers who develop milia, which she said could be a result of the smoke blowing up near the eyes, causing skin to become ‘keratinized’. 

The skin bumps don’t tend to come to a ‘head’, meaning they can be more difficult to remove than other blemishes. Therefore, Renée said: ‘You should not try to extract them yourself. You’ll only end up damaging your skin. 

‘Instead, have them removed by a licensed professional,’ she said. 

Renée said a professional will remove milia one of two ways, either electric cauterization – a process that involves the bump being pierced with a lancet then gently squeeze to physically extract the hardened oil – or by cryotherapy, which involves ‘freezing milia off using liquid nitrogen’.

In order to prevent milia from occurring, the skin expert advises gently exfoliating on a regular basis, as well as avoiding using heavy, rich creams, especially around the eye area.  




Woah: Closed comedones (pictured) are considered ‘non-infected clogged pores’, and are caused by a blockage to the pores. They can eventually turn into inflammatory acne

Also known as comedonal acne, Renée said closed comedones ‘are considered non-infected, clogged pores’.

The bumps are not as round or hard as milia, but when left untreated can remain on the skin. They can also eventually turn into inflamed pustules or papules, which are otherwise known as inflammatory acne.

Closed comedones are caused by a blockage in the pores. They can be triggered by a number of factors including having oily skin and using the wrong products for your skin including heavy moisturizers or sunscreens.

The skin bumps can also be caused by certain types of makeup, including long-wear foundations, cream blushes and silicone primers.

Closed comedones can vary in appearance. For those that are more raised and tend to ‘protrude’ (pictured left), Renée recommends having the pores cleaned out through manual extraction and using exfoliating acids.

‘Using a serum specifically with salicylic acid (BHA), since it is oil-soluble, can penetrate the pore lining better than other types of acids,’ she explained.

For closed comedones that tend to appear as ‘skin with layers and layers of dead skin cells over the bumps on the skin’ (pictured right), Renée advises people suffering with this type to avoid using over-drying acne products, use an exfoliating acid and retinoids.  


Common: Skin growths (pictured) begin as small, flat bumps. They can thicken and get larger, and can even turn into skin tags. They can be flesh-colored or darker than the skin tone

Skin growths can appear on the face, neck and body. Renée explained: ‘They are usually benign (non-cancerous) and often begin as small flat or rough bumps on the skin.’

The expert added that the bumps can often be mistaken for clogged pores or breakouts, however, they will never come to a head and cannot be extracted because there is no oil in them. 

Skin growths tend to appear around the age of 35, and more can develop over time.

‘Over time, skin growths thicken and get larger, eventually turning into skin tags or a number of other skin conditions: seborrheic keratoses, hyperkeratosis, actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous cells) and sebaceous hyperplasia, to name a few,’ Renée said.  

The growths can be flesh color and darker in color, and can take on a number of different shapes and textures. Renée said the bumps are ‘generally made up of excess skin or enlarged oil glands that appear as raised bumps on the skin and are impossible to hide with makeup’.

She advises anyone with skin growths to keep an eye on them in order to make sure they don’t change over time, despite them usually being benign. 

Skin growths can be caused by UV damage from exposure to the sun, ageing, genetics and hormones. 

The best way to treat skin growths is to have them removed by a dermatologist while they’re small and ‘still manageable’. Common ways of removing them include cryotherapy, electric cauterization and manual removal with a scalpel.

In order to help prevent skin growths from developing, Renée recommends using exfoliating acids and retinol, as well as protecting the skin from harmful UV rays by wearing a lightweight sunscreen on a daily basis.  


Bumps: Skin tags (pictured) are benign skin growths that Renée describes as soft, fleshy pieces of skin that are connected to the skin by a small ‘stem’ (Image credit: Renée Rouleau)

Skin tags are one of the most common types of benign skin growths. Renée describes them as ‘soft, fleshy pieces of skin that are usually connected to the skin by a small stem’.

The esthetician said skin tags are made up of regular fat and tissue, and can appear the same color as your skin tone or darker. 

Skin tags can appear anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found under the arms, on the neck and around the eye area.

Renée explained that, although the cause of skin tags is unclear, there are certain factors that could increase the likelihood of developing them.

Some factors include friction from something that constantly rubs against an area of the body, such as a necklace, genetics and hormones – especially during pregnancy. 

Ageing is another factor that could add to the chances someone of developing a skin tag, as well as insulin-related disorders. 

Although they can tend to fall off the skin over time, the most common way to treat skin tags is to have them removed with cryotherapy or electric cauterization. 

However, Renée said larger skin tags may need to be removed manually with a scissors or a scalpel. 

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