Pityriasis alba occurs when small areas of skin lose their normal color (pigment) and is thought to be a mild type of eczema. Often patients have both eczema and pityriasis alba. The affected area looks whiter than the skin that surrounds it, and sometimes has a pinkish color or a small amount of scaling (dry skin).
It mostly affects the face, although the neck, trunk, arms, or legs can also be involved. Although pityriasis alba occurs in all races, it is easier to see in patients with darker skin tones. Therefore, it may seem more common in children of Hispanic, African-American, or Asian descent.
There is no single treatment that will cure pityriasis alba, although steroid creams and moisturizers may help it go away. Often the affected skin pigment will return to normal with time. You must protect the skin with pityriasis alba from sun exposure, as it is prone to sunburn. If the area is allowed to burn often, it may be at higher risk for skin cancer. Also, sunscreens may help to prevent the skin around from tanning too much. If the skin around the area is tan it makes the whiter skin stand out.
UW Dermatology Department
1 S. Park St 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715
Clinic: 608 287-2450
American Family Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Dermatology Specialty Clinic
1675 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
Clinic: 608 263-6420
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Last Updated: 01/22/2013
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