Dry patches on skin of face- Pityriasis alba (Dermatocare's skin diseases guide)

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 03/10/18

Have you lately noticed round dry patches on the face of your child? No! They are not, because of vitamin or calcium deficiencies, neither they indicate worm infestations. So, what are they and how do you manage them? These are most commonly caused by low-grade eczema termed as Pityriasis Alba. This article will help you understand the reason for getting dry patches on the face and also guide you on how to manage them.


“Doctor, My daughter, is getting dry patches on the skin of her face, I am afraid... does she have leukoderma?”

 

What is Pityriasis Alba?

Pityriasis Alba is characterised by the development of a few to many small patches of dry and pale skin on the face of your child. Rarely, such patches might appear on the neck, arms and shoulders. Initially, the patches are slightly red and then they turn pale with scaling. These patches appear more prominent in summers because of tanning of the surrounding skin, but they rarely itch or pain.

How do I know if the white patches on the face of my child are because Pityriasis Alba and not Vitiligo?

The patches of Pityriasis Alba are usually less white and might have redness and scaling on them. Vitiligo patches are milky white, and they do not have redness or scaling. But, the opinion of your doctor to differentiate between the two is highly recommended.

What is the reason for getting Pityriasis Alba?

As commonly thought of, neither nutritional deficiency nor worm infestation is the causes of this condition. It is low-grade eczema often associated with dry skin and asthma in the family.

What is the treatment of Pityriasis Alba?

Few patches that are barely visible should be left alone; a good moisturiser in the case of dry skin is recommended. However, if the spots are visible from a distance, then your dermatologist might prescribe you either pimecrolimus or tacrolimus, which can help in re-pigmentation of patches. Steroid creams are used if there is redness, but at best they should be avoided.

What precautions can I take to reduce Pityriasis Alba?

Pityriasis Alba is sometimes chronic; the patches might come and go for several years until the child reaches adolescence. In such cases, we recommend you to use a fragrance-free non-foaming face wash followed by moisturiser regularly. You should always apply child safe sunscreen before your child goes out in bright sunlight.

 


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