Poikiloderma of Civatte

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand and Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 1998.


What is poikiloderma of Civatte?

Poikiloderma of Civatte is a common, benign skin condition that mainly affects the skin on the sides of the neck. It mainly affects women.

It characteristically spares the shaded area under the chin. The skin in the affected skin is red-brown with prominent hair follicles. The term "poikiloderma" refers to a change in the skin where there is thinning, increased pigmentation and dilation of the fine blood vessels (telangiectasia).

Civatte was a French dermatologist who first described a common weathering change that affects the skin of the sides and front of the neck.

Poikiloderma of Civatte

What is the cause of poikiloderma of Civatte?

The exact cause is unknown. Contributing factors are:

  • Fair skin
  • Accumulated sun exposure
  • Photosensitising components of cosmetics and toiletries, especially perfumes
  • Hormonal factors

What is the treatment of poikiloderma of Civatte?

There is no specific medical treatment for this condition. The patient should be educated about avoiding sun exposure and the correct use of sunscreens. The results of treatment may be disappointing in many cases.

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