Pityriasis alba

Content

Introduction

Introduction

There pityriasis alba is one of the most common and widespread skin (dermatological) diseases. It is more common in children and young people, and is characterized by whitish spots with indistinct margins that generate dryness and peeling of the skin.

It most frequently affects the face (hence the name of Pityriasis alba faciei) and the limbs but, at times, it can be spread over the entire body surface. It usually does not cause disturbances (asymptomatic) or causes only mild itching, is not contagious (transmissible) and heals spontaneously without any treatment.

Symptoms

Symptoms

There pityriasis alba it manifests itself with the appearance of small white spots on the child's face, mainly on the forehead, cheekbones and cheeks, often not easily identifiable. Their size varies between 0.5 and 2 centimeters in diameter but, at times, they can be more extensive and also affect other areas of the body, such as the neck, trunk, back and limbs. They rarely occur in a solitary way, more commonly they form groups of 4-5 and, in some cases, they can even reach twenty.

At first, the spots appear slightly raised and reddish in color, sometimes associated with itching. Subsequently they evolve into the typical pale-white color and, in the last phase, they are no longer in relief but retain their whitish color and are characterized by dryness and flaking.

The rapid peeling of skin cells that contain melanin (a dark pigment) is responsible for the white complexion. Apart from a slight itch, there are no other complaints. The dryness of the spots is more pronounced during the cold season while in the summer, despite being less dry, the spots are more evident.

Causes

Causes

The causes of pityriasis alba are not known.

It occurs more frequently in boys than in girls and is more common among children with dark complexions and very dry skin.

The predisposition to allergies, in particular to atopic dermatitis, as well as exposure to the sun, have been associated with its appearance.

It is not a contagious (transmissible) disease but it can affect one or more children of the same family because they share dry skin and / or a predisposition to allergies.

Precisely because it mainly depends on the type of skin it can appear several times (relapse) especially before complete sexual development (puberty).

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of pityriasis alba is made by the doctor by observing the spots.

A dermatological examination is necessary to distinguish it from other causes of skin color changes (skin discoloration), such as vitiligo or pityriasis versicolor.

Microscopic examination of the scales collected by scratching a lesion can help rule out diseases caused by infections.

Therapy

Therapy

Pityriasis alba is a disease that heals spontaneously with the total disappearance of the spots within a few months or a year. No drug treatment is therefore necessary.

However, it is advisable to apply adequate moisturizers often, especially during the winter season, to reduce dryness of the skin and prevent the reappearance (recurrence) of white spots. In the slightly reddened forms, the use of soothing (calming) creams and ointments is indicated.

In summer, the application of a sunscreen with a high protection factor is recommended.

Bibliography

Bibliography

Miazek N, Michalek I, Pawlowska-Kisiel M, Olszewska M, Rudnicka L. Pityriasis Alba-Common Disease, Enigmatic Entity: Up-to-Date Review of the Literature [Summary].Pediatric Dermatology. 2015; 32: 786

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