DermNet provides Google Translate, a free machine translation service. Note that this may not provide an exact translation in all languages
Author: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1997. Updated January 2016. Revised September 2020.
Pityriasis alba is a low-grade type of eczema/dermatitis mainly seen in children.
The name describes its appearance: pityriasis refers to the characteristic fine scale, and alba to its pale colour (hypopigmentation).
Pityriasis alba is common worldwide with a prevalence in children of around 5%.
The cause of pityriasis alba is unknown.
Researchers have not reached any conclusions about the relationship of pityriasis alba to the following:
Classic pityriasis alba usually presents with 1 to 20 patches or thin plaques.
Typically, a patch of pityriasis alba evolves through several stages.
None are known.
Pityriasis alba can be confused with several other disorders that cause hypopigmentation.
To exclude these, investigations may include:
No treatment is necessary for asymptomatic pityriasis alba.
The development or prominence of pityriasis alba can be reduced with sunscreen use to minimise sun tanning.
Pityriasis alba clears after an average of one year, with a range of a few months up to two or three years. The colour gradually returns completely to normal.
See the DermNet NZ bookstore
© 2021 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.