Pityriasis Alba: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

It is a skin disorder that mainly affects children and young adults. It is thought that the condition may be associated with eczema, a common skin disorder.

People with pityriasis alba develop red or pink patches on their skin, usually round or oval. The patches are generally rinsed with moisturizers or disappear on their own.

However, they often leave pale marks on the skin after the redness has faded.

Symptoms of pityriasis alba

People with pityriasis alba have round, oval, or irregularly shaped spots on the skin. The patches are usually scaly and dry. They can appear in:

  • Cara (is the most commonplace).
  • The upper part of the arms.
  • Neck.
  • Chest.
  • Back.

Pale pink or red spots can fade into light-colored patches after several weeks.

These patches usually disappear in a few months but may last several years in some cases. They are most noticeable in the summer months when the surrounding skin tans.

This is because pityriasis patches do not tan. The use of sunscreen can make the patches less noticeable in the summer months. The patches of light are also more prominent in people with darker skin.



The exact cause of pityriasis alba is not known. However, it is commonly considered a mild form of atopic dermatitis and eczema.

Eczema can be caused by an overactive immune system that responds aggressively to irritants. The ability of the skin to act as a barrier is reduced in people with eczema.

Usually, the immune system ignores normal proteins and only attacks proteins from harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses.

However, if you have eczema, your immune system can not always distinguish between the two and instead attack healthy substances in your body. This causes inflammation; it is similar to having an allergic reaction.

Most people outgrow eczema and pityriasis alba early in adulthood.

Risk factor’s

Pityriasis alba is more common in children and adolescents. It occurs in approximately 2% to 5% of children.

It is often seen in children between 6 and 12 years. It is also widespread in children with atopic dermatitis, an itchy skin inflammation.

Pityriasis alba often appears in children who take hot baths frequently or are exposed to the sun without sunscreen. However, it is not clear if these factors cause the skin condition.

Pityriasis alba is not contagious.


No treatment is required for pityriasis alba. The patches usually disappear with time. Your doctor may prescribe a moisturizing cream or a topical steroid cream to treat the condition, such as hydrocortisone.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal cream, such as pimecrolimus. Both creams can help reduce skin discoloration and relieve dryness, peeling, or itching.

Even if you have had treatment, patches may return in the future. You may need to use the creams again. In most cases, however, pityriasis alba disappears in adulthood.

Pityriasis alba resolves spontaneously. The treatment consists mainly of avoiding the triggers, good general skin care, and educating the patient’s parents about the benign nature of this disorder.

Patients should use adequate sun protection to avoid darkening the skin’s natural color. Pityriasis alba lesions do not pigment well with sun exposure, and darkening of the surrounding skin can worsen the cosmetic appearance.

Because pityriasis alba is usually self-limiting and asymptomatic, pharmacological treatment is not often used.

Pharmacological therapy

Topical steroids (e.g., Hydrocortisone 1%, 0.05% desonide) can help with erythema and itching associated with the initial injury and accelerate the repigmentation of existing lesions.

However, the use should be limited, with frequent breaks, to avoid skin atrophy in the long term. Low-potency topical steroids (class 5, 6) should be prescribed.

Soft emollient creams reduce the incrustation of lesions, especially on the face.

Photochemotherapy with Psoralen plus ultraviolet light can help with repigmentation in significant cases, although the recurrence rate is high after stopping treatment.

It has also been reported that 0.1% tacrolimus ointment and 1% pimecrolimus cream are beneficial in treating pityriasis alba.

Due to the high cost of tacrolimus, however, rarely it indicated. Pimecrolimus 1% has been proposed as a therapeutic option for three months.

It has been shown that calcitriol, a topical analog of vitamin D, has comparable efficacy compared to tacrolimus in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 28 patients.

Laser therapy

Treatment with a 308 nm excimer laser twice a week for 12 weeks is effective against pityriasis alba.