Signs and Symptoms of Pityriasis Alba

What is Pityriasis Alba?

Pityriasis alba is a common skin condition mostly occurring in children and usually seen as dry, fine-scaled, pale patches on the face. It is self-limiting and usually only requires use of moisturizer creams.


Who gets it?

  • Its mostly found in 3-10 years old. Its frequently seen in dark skin children and in summer.
  • More common in children with history of atopic dermatitis, eczema, allergies or asthma

How can we Prevent it?

There are no known preventive measures

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Pityriasis Alba?

  • Small not well defined pale, white or pink colored patches ranging from 0.5 to 3cm
  • Usually on cheeks, chin, arms
  • More noticeable in summer when the normal skin around it gets darker due to sun exposure
  • Usually asymptomatic
  • Fine scales or invisible
  • Rarely pruritis

How do we diagnose Pityriasis Alba?

  • Diagnosis usually made clinically
  • Your doctor may scrape the fine scales and look it under microscope with KOH preparation to rule out fungal infection. It should be negative. Its used to differentiate from Tinea or Pityriasis Versicolor which is a fungal infection.
  • Woods Light can also be used by your physician to differentiate it from Vitiligo which will have very bright glow and sharper margins.

What else may look alike Pityriasis alba?

  • Vitiligo
  • Pityriasis versicolor
  • Leprosy

How do we treat Pityriasis Alba?

  • Topical Steroidal creams can be used to treat redness or roughness due to inflammation.
  • Steroids will not change the pigmentation but will improve roughness, dryness or itching.
  • Use non-soap cleansers or moisturizing soaps.
  • Avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen.
  • Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream sparingly for 3–7 days.
  • Certain lotions and moisturizers cream may help to improve the dry appearance.
  • The hydrocortisone cream may also help to make the patches go away more quickly.
  • Apply moisturizers such as petroleum jelly or fragrance-free ointments and creams.
  • The use of Pragmatar ointment, Lac-Hydrin, 2% Zetar in Cordran cream gives the effective results.
  • Pimecrolimus cream has also been reported to be effective.


How long would it take to get better?

  • They usually last for several weeks. The skin color then gradually returns to normal.
  • Its usually self limited and resolves by adulthood.

How can I help prevent the patches from returning?

 Once the patches have returned to normal, use skin lotions and moisturizers to help to decrease the chance that patches will return. Do not use 1% hydrocortisone cream on the face for long periods of time (months) without first talking with your child's healthcare provider.


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