Ou Jia (Emilie) Wang,1 Joseph M. Lam, MD, FRCPC,2

1 Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2Department of Pediatrics, Department of Dermatology and Skin Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Abstract: Pityriasis alba is a common, benign skin condition that primarily affects children and adolescents, characterized by hypopigmented patches and scaly plaques on the face and other areas of the body. It is likely a manifestation of post-inflammatory hypopigmentation from subtle or subclinical inflammation. Diagnosis is typically based on history and clinical presentation. Management involves the use of emollients and low-potency topical steroids to improve skin hydration, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms such as pruritus. Pityriasis alba typically becomes less apparent as the patients age, but reassurance and symptomatic relief are critical components to managing the condition.
Key Words: Pityriasis alba, atopy, hypersensitivity, scaling, hypopigmentation, asymptomatic.

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Pityriasis alba presents as patches and plaques of hypopigmentation, which is more identifiable in darker skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types III to VI).
Pityriasis alba is a benign and self-limiting skin condition that often improves with time.
Pityriasis alba is often associated with atopic dermatitis and the atopic triad.
Diagnosis of pityriasis alba is made on history and exam and the exclusion of other conditions (e.g. fungal infections, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis). Skin biopsy, laboratory tests, and Wood’s lamp examination are not necessary, but can be performed if other conditions are suspected.
The hypopigmentation in pityriasis alba does not result from reduction in melanocyte count.
Patient reassurance, education and lifestyle management is often sufficient, but emollients, low-potency topical steroids, and topical calcineurin can also be used.
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