Pityriasis Alba in Children: Care Instructions

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Pityriasis alba is a common skin condition that occurs mainly in children. It causes slightly scaly, round or oval patches on the skin. The patches may look slightly pink at first. Later they fade to leave areas that are lighter than the other skin. They most often appear on the face, neck, upper arms, or upper part of the body. The cause of pityriasis alba is not known.

The patches aren't harmful. They may be more noticeable in children with darker skin.

Pityriasis alba usually goes away without treatment. It may take a few months or years for the color in your child's skin to return to normal. Using moisturizers, creams, or petroleum jelly may help relieve dry or itchy skin.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Use a moisturizer or cream on your child's skin right after a bath to help with dry skin.
  • If itching is a problem, talk to your doctor about what medicine might work best. Your doctor may suggest steroid creams. These can help if the skin is itchy or irritated.
  • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine, use it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • Protect your child's skin from too much sun. For example, have your child stay out of the sun during midday hours, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and wear sun-protective clothing.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have any questions or concerns about your child's condition.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.