Pityriasis alba

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Pityriasis alba is a skin pigmentation disorder that occurs with more or less extensive areas of hypomelanosis. Pityriasis mainly affects children and adolescents. Male subjects are affected more frequently than women.

Pityriasis alba face: this is the part of the body most affected together with the limbs, however the disease could also extend to the whole body.

This type of dermatitis alba is not contagious, it only causes mild itching, often heals spontaneously and without any treatment.

What are the symptoms?

The manifestation of pityriasis alba occurs with the appearance of white patches on the child’s face, normally they can be seen on the forehead, cheekbones, and cheeks. Many times they are not easy to recognize.

The size often varies between 0.5 and 2 cm in diameter, but as we have already said before the disease could have a significant extension and cover more parts of a child’s body.

Usually the disease occurs in groups of 4-5 spots, in certain circumstances this number could reach even twenty, consequently it almost never occurs in a solitary manner.

The period in which pityriasis is lived can be divided into 3 phases:

  1. In the first phase we can only note a slightly red relief, which is accompanied by an itchy sensation.
  2. During the second phase the spots evolve into the typical pale-white color.
  3. The last phase is characterized by dryness and “elimination” from the surface of the epidermis of scales formed due to morbid processes (desquamation), there are no more reliefs and only the whitish color remains.

A quick peeling of the skin cells that contain melanin is responsible for the whitish color. During the cold period the dryness is more pronounced, while during the summer or hot period the spots become more evident.

How to diagnose pityriasis alba?

The diagnosis of pityriasis alba in children is carried out by a dermatologist, thanks to a thorough observation of the skin, in order not to confuse it with other diseases. Such as, for example, vitiligo and pityriasis versicolor, given their similarity in manifestation.

The examination of the scales that was collected from the lesions is often done to definitively exclude diseases caused by infections.

What therapy to perform?

Pityriasis alba how is it treated?

This pityriasis heals spontaneously with the total disappearance of all signs and symptoms. The time required for complete healing can take anywhere from a few months to a year.

Yet, despite this, dermatologists always recommend using adequate moisturizers, particularly during the cold season to escape the recurrence of the spots and to moderate skin dryness.

On the other hand, for the summer, the use of a protective sunscreen with a high protection factor is recommended.

These are therefore the main tips for treating pityriasis alba: patience and the use of moisturizing creams in winter and sun creams in summer. For a visit with our expert dermatologists, find all the references in the contact section of our website.

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