What You Need to Know About Pityriasis Alba: White Patches and Pigment Loss

Pityriasis Alba

Last Updated on

Do you or your child have eczema white patches? Spots of skin that seem to have lost their pigmentation? If so, it’s likely Pityriasis Alba, a skin disorder that affects 2-5% of children worldwide.

Pityriasis Alba is a skin condition, often coexisting with eczema, that is characterized by reduced pigmentation in either light skin patches or thin plaque on the face (mostly cheeks or chin), neck, shoulders, arms and much more. It’s often most noticeable after prolonged sun exposure, as the pityriasis alba patches remain pale in color while the skin surrounding it will darken in color.

If your child is suffering from Pityriasis Alba, you’ll want to keep reading this post that shares Dr. Peter Lio’s opinion of Pityriasis Alba as well as Vitiligo!

Please keep in mind that although these tips and information have worked for several eczema sufferers, I am in no way a medical professional. If you’re experiencing severe eczema or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.

Pityriasis Alba vs. Vitiligo

Although Pityriasis Alba is quite similar in appearance to Vitiligo, it’s important to note that these two skin conditions are very different. According to Dr. Peter Lio;

“Pigment loss can occur in areas of chronic inflammation, particularly when it is severe. Oftentimes, the hands, wrists, or ankles have chronic damage and actual loss of pigment that is very much like vitiligo. It seems very likely that the chronic irritation causes an autoimmune reaction like vitiligo in those areas, although vitiligo is fairly rare [for eczema sufferers]

Much more common is reduced pigmentation (light spots rather than stark white) which fall under the umbrella of pityriasis alba. This is thought to be underproduction of pigment by the pigment cells when there is nearby inflammation. Usually this is most prominent on the face, upper arms, and trunk, and seems more noticeable in the summer. It is reversible and caused by treatments, but actually improves with treatment.

Stages of Pityriasis Alba

Unlike other forms of eczema, Pityriasis Alba produces minimal itching or none at all. Typically, this skin condition goes through several stages until it is fully healed.

  1. Slightly scaly pink plaque with a papular surface
  2. Hypopigmented (light spots rather than stark white appearance) plaque
  3. Post-inflammatory hypopigmented skin without plaque

How to Treat Pityriasis Alba?

Unlike Vitiligo, the white patches from this type of skin condition actually go away with time; therefore, no treatment is actually required. However, if the skin is dry or itchy, it’s always best to use a moisturizer or balm that can help restore skin.

A great moisturizer to try for dry Pityriasis Alba is the Organic Manuka Honey Soothing Skin Cream, which is both soothing and extremely moisturizing on the driest of skin.

Can Steroid Medications Cause Pityriasis Alba?

Although steroid medication has been known to cause eczema pigmentation loss sufferers, it is in fact quite rare. There are some cases in which steroid injections into the knee or wrist joint have created hypopigmentation, but it is not so common.

Unlike many other forms of eczema, Pityriasis Alba tends to vanish once adulthood has been reached.

Read more about eczema in our most popular blog posts:

Does your child suffer from light skin patches and pigmentation loss due to their eczema? Let us know in the comments below!

Bio: Laura Dolgy is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

FROM: Eczema

14 Comments

  1. Jyothish on August 21, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Best article you wrote. The article giving complete information about Pigment Loss & Eczema White Patches. These problems are complete curable in kids as well as adults with out any after effects. Traditional Ayurveda giving complete treatment for, pigmentation loss etc.

    • Liz on August 21, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      I am so thankful to you for posting this article.
      I had been searching on google for months trying to figure out what those whitish spots are and how to get rid of them on my child’s hands. My child has a severe case of eczema and without steroid treatment it’s uncontrollable. I just hope he wouldn’t get bullied at school for that or suffer from a low self esteem due to
      the eczema at school, as this is the first time he will be attending school, he has never been to daycare due to
      Constant itching because he would get an infected quite fast. Please parents who have dealt with kids starting school with eczema, how have you managed it? Did
      You have a talk with the teachers to get them aware of the situation? I guess I am just looking for reassurance from someone whose been through it. Back to this article, thank you for the detailed explanation, we really needed it.

      • Mel on August 24, 2017 at 6:41 am

        This is interesting because my daughter has light brown skin (darker in the summer) and this is the second time her skin on her arms and torso have white patches. She almost looks like a leopard which is indicative of her eczema. I will research this more.

        For the comment by Liz, ask your sons school if they have a “504” plan in place which will get the majority of the staff on board with your sons medical needs. I am currently doing this for my daughter at her school. There is an article on the NEA website about a father who did this for his daughter and it was the best thing he ever did to help his daughter get through school. Unfortunately I don’t have the link, but you can also look it up and you should find more information. Good Luck and God bless!

  2. Anita m on May 21, 2018 at 10:43 am

    My son is 6 years old he started with a little white patch next to he’s eye I though it was from chicken pox now that the weather is sunny he’s face has more white patches around he’s eyes and nose these in the winter he’s face was very dry now they are clear I apply sun cream every day I hope it’s not the stark white patches that won’t go away plz help

    • Jennifer Roberge on May 24, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Anita –

      Has he had eczema previously in those places? If yes, then it’s likely pityriasis alba. If he has not had eczema in those areas on his face, I’d recommend taking him to the dermatologist to get a diagnosis.

  3. Alice Chang on June 5, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Jennifer

    My 8 years old daughter has a white patch under her left eyes. That part of skin has eczema before. Doc said it is pityriasis alba and no treatment is needed. But I am so worried the white patch will not go away. Do you know any cream or vitamins can help?
    Thank you

    • Jennifer Roberge on June 8, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Hi Alice – We have a post on eczema scars that you might find useful, it could help the white patch.

  4. Betty on November 4, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Hi I am a 30 year old mom of 2. I have the condition on my face and it has been more than 3 years now. Please tell me how to get rid off it. I waited for it to fade away by itself but no luck so far.

    • Jennifer Roberge on November 7, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Hi Betty – Did you speak with your doctor about trying our natural tips in this post? Are you using any sort of topical medication now or have you in the past?

  5. Linda Webby on November 24, 2018 at 12:54 am

    My granddaughter appears to have developed a fungal looking condition that looks like Pityriasis alba after drawing all over her arms with vivid highlighter pens . Is this a likely cause?

    • Jennifer Roberge on November 27, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      It sure is possible that he reacted to an ingredient in those pens.

  6. Cynthia on March 25, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    My story is similar to Betty’s. I am an adult who started getting light patches on my checks several years ago. They don’t itch but have gotten bigger. I have not used a topical medication in the past. My doctor prescribed Tacrolimus ointment which is linked to cancer. I don’t want to use this drug. I don’t know what else to do. Is it diet-related? This week I started using Sacred Frankincense at night. Any other suggestions? Thank you

  7. Susan on April 23, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Finally, I know what is going on! Developed eczema a few years ago at age 51 … hands, arms, neck, and face. I’ve had these irregular whitish patches and thought sebum was trapped under my skin. Now I need to get rid of them.

  8. Tulsi on May 8, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    My son has a white patch under his left eye and it has been two months , it remains the same. He has suffered from eczema since birth and has itching on his joints . I am so scared.

Leave a Comment





Pin It on Pinterest

Share This