It appears as patches of light color, especially on the cheeks. Its cause is unknown but the main trigger is dry skin and is more common in children with a history of atopic dermatitis.
The lesions usually occur in summer, affecting the skin on the cheeks and arms. Initially pink oval or round spots of 0.5 to 2 cm in size appear which later become pale with a slight scaling. Finally it becomes a white undefined spot with indistinct margins. It is usually asymptomatic but occasionally it may be accompanied by itching.
Your dermatologist can make a clinical diagnosis by examining your skin and asking you questions about your medical history. It is important to differentiate pityriasis alba from other similar injuries such as tinea versicolor, a fungal infection that requires a different treatment, or vitiligo (loss of skin pigment). If after clinical examination there is doubt your dermatologist may take a sample of the affected skin for direct microscopic observation or culture. He might use a blue light lamp to rule out fungoides and vitiligo).
Treatment for Pityriasis Alba
Treatment involves maintaining the skin well hydrated, especially during winter and spring, and applying sunscreen 50+ during summer. Well-hydrated skin will have fewer tendencies to cause injury, and if they occur, protecting the skin from the sun helps, as the patches are less visible when skin is not tanned. A topical formula can be prescribed to repigment the skin.