Natural Remedies For Pityriasis Alba: Its Causes And Diagnosis

Often parents get worried when they see white scaly or flaky patches on their kids face. Most of the time it is pityriasis alba, a chronic skin condition. Though disturbing, the silver lining is it is a harmless skin problem affecting children and sometimes young adults. The literary meaning of pityriasis is scaly and alba is a Latin word for white.

The scaly white patches are prominent on cheeks, chin and forehead, at times they also appear on neck, arm and on the abdomen. The white patches are more apparent in dark skin persons.

The condition is noticed more in summer when the skin gets tanned. Untreated lesions persist for many months. Regression is possible with variety of local therapeutic preparations as well as home remedies.

Causes Of Pityriasis Alba

The exact cause for development of pityriasis remains obscure. Researchers are unable to identify the reason for these white patches on face. It is believed children and young adults who have dry skin, Asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic eczema are often susceptible to this skin condition. Children having eczema are also prone to such types of white spots.

  • Dermatologists believe the white spots are a mild form of eczema. Injudicious and excessive use of corticosteroid cream in treating eczema may also precipitate pale white patches.
  • When the color producing cells called melanocytes reduce their activity for a limited period, they may give rise to faded white patches on the skin surface. This has been proved in histological findings.
  • Children between the ages 3 to 15 are vulnerable to pityriasis alba.
  • It is frequently seen in males than in females.

Here are some of the triggering factors believed to be responsible for development of pityriasis alba.

  • Summer heat: It makes the skin drier and more sensitive to skin diseases.
  • More humidity makes the skin drier. During this period the skin becomes vulnerable for development of pityriasis alba.
  • Soaps and detergents having strong fragrances may be trigger pityriasis alba.
  • It is easily visible in people with dark skin.
  • Child having Asthma is also vulnerable to this skin condition.

Pityriasis Alba Diagnosis

Often on examination the dermatologists can diagnose pityriasis alba.  But when in doubt, he will differentiate it from vitiligo and other post inflammatory depigmentation following a specific inflammatory reaction. He may take a small skin scraping for examination under microscope.

The histological changes such as parakeratosis, lymphocytic perivascular infiltrate in the upper layer may be a clinching factor in diagnosing the condition. However, this is seldom required as the white spots are peculiar and the doctor is mostly able to clinically diagnose the condition.

Natural Home Remedies For Pityriasis Alba

Treatment for pityriasis alba is not usually required as after a period of time, it heals on its own. However, sometimes application of steroidal cream for a short period of time quickens the healing process. Since the skin of children is delicate, you should always consult the doctor before applying the steroidal creams.

  • Apply moisturizer on the child’s face. Petroleum jelly and Vaseline are good moisturizer. But use those that do not have any fragrance.
  • Also apply sunscreen before going out in the sun to prevent recurrence of pityriasis alba.
  • In severe cases patient may require treatment with PUVA therapy.
  • Buttermilk, olive oil and coconut oil are also effective moisturizers that are easily available in your kitchen cabinet.
  • Make a puree of Avocados and apply it on the face. It acts as an emollient. Avocados are high in fats, vitamin A and E. It helps to retain moisture.


  1. KR said:

    Can a 17 month old baby suffer from Pityriais Alba?

    July 28, 2015
    • PUP said:

      Pityriasis alba is common in school going babies and toddlers. But sometimes infants can also be affected with this skin condition, mainly among those with dry skin. The skin lesions are mostly observed on neck, forehead, cheeks, and on shoulder.

      July 28, 2015
  2. Rades said:

    My 11 month old seems to be having Pityriasis Alba near the right eye and I have observed that it has slightly increased in the last couple of weeks. I also feel it appearing near the left eye now. I am concerned about it. My pediatrician suggested I apply Candid B cream for now and I am also applying virgin coconut oil around the eyes. I have been giving him a bath twice every day, should I stop doing that?

    Can this condition come from the parents? I have had eczema several times and maybe when I was pregnant as well? Can this be completely healed and can it reoccur? What precautions should I take to prevent it from spreading further or reoccurring?

    September 19, 2016
  3. Tammy said:

    I have had pityriasis for 5 years now and it was not that bad until I went to the dermatologist that proscribed me pro topic and I used the whole to tube and it didn’t work. Then he prescribed me adapalene 0.1 % and now it is even worse. I look like a speckled neck with white dots all over my neck and lower cheek areas. I get so depressed because I don’t know how I got it. I do believe I got it from too much of sun. I hate to wear makeup but I have to just to go out.

    February 1, 2017
    • Barbour said:

      You can use virgin olive oil with few drops of lemon on daily basis in the morning and leave it all the day. After taking a shower in the evening apply Elidel cream 1% for 3 to 6 months and you will get rid of it. Let me know the results because I just got cured from it.

      February 17, 2017
      • Monty said:

        My son has just been diagnosed of the same problem. I just wanted to know how to use olive oil with drops of lemon juice? Does he have to apply to effected areas or he should drink one table spoon of that mixture? Kindly reply me since I am very much concerned for my son and wanted to reverse these white spots. Doctor prescribed him Elidel and I am applying it for almost three weeks. Kindly let me know more about your personal experience and treatment and if you avoided any food during that time.

        January 13, 2018
  4. EM said:

    I am having white flaky patches on my cheeks for past 2 years. I have consulted a dermatologist and took prescribed medicine. I am also using broad spectrum UV sunscreen daily with moisturizer, but my patches are still present. Is there any home remedy that can be useful?

    December 3, 2017
    • PUP said:

      As you have consulted a dermatologist, what is his diagnosis for these white patches? White patches that are flaky can be due to varied variety of reasons. Hence first you must know the diagnosis.

      August 17, 2018
  5. AN said:

    Can an 18 year old person suffer from Pityriasis Alba?

    May 11, 2018
    • PUP said:

      Although Pityriasis alba is more common in children, it can also occur in adults. Summer heat, too much of moisture, and low immunity are some of the triggers for development of this skin disease. A person suffering from asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema is more susceptible to develop this condition.

      August 8, 2018

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