Children are very vulnerable to many diseases, the most common of which is skin disease. Because they often play outside, they are exposed to pollutants and other environmental hazards. Aside from that, one affected child can infect other children while playing. This kind of vulnerability makes protecting our children from skin diseases a priority for us as parents.

But, sometimes, despite the precautionary measures we apply to protect our children, our children still get sick and suffer from skin problems which we may need the help of doctors for treatment. To allay parental fears, many of these skin diseases are curable, some of them are even benign and will disappear when the child grows up. One benign type of skin disease in children is Pityriasis Alba.

What are those white patches on my child’s skin?

Pityriasis Alba is a chronic skin disorder that is prevalent among children. They develop on the child’s face around the mouth, on the chin, and on the forehead. The white patches can also spread towards the neck, shoulders, upper chest and upper arms.

Pityriasis Alba appear as light-colored (hypopigmented) patches on the child’s skin. They range in size from 1 to 4 centimeters and may be two to 20 patches clustered together. The patches may look like scales with slight and subtle dry surfaces. Occasionally, the condition begins as mildly itchy, pink patches that develop into lightened patches of skin.

 Why Does my Child Have White Spots on her Face?

When does it appear?

These white spots on skin are seen more often in winter than in summer because of the dry weather. However, people often mistakenly think the white patches worsen during summer, but they just become more visible as the normal, surrounding skin becomes darker with sun exposure.

How long does it last?

Pityriasis Alba is a self limiting skin problem, which means it can disappear without needing any treatment. The condition typically lasts one year or more without treatment, but it usually disappear after puberty or by the time the child reaches adulthood.

What causes it?

The exact cause of pityriasis alba is unknown, though triggers may include heat, humidity, heavily scented detergents or soaps, abrasive clothing, smoke, and stress. What is certain is that Pityriasis alba is not caused by an infection with yeast or fungus.

Who’s at risk?

Pityriasis Alba occurs in children of all races and in both sexes, although boys are more commonly affected than the girls. It is most common in children aged three to sixteen years old. Some groups of children are more vulnerable than the others. Children with asthma, hayfever (allergic rhinitis), eczema (atopic dermatitis), and Dry skin (xerosis) are more likely to develop this skin disease.

How is it treated?

Although the white patches will go away without any treatment, a parent is still strongly advised to keep the skin, including the affected areas, moisturized. Use non-soap cleansers or moisturizing soaps when bathing your child. Apply moisturizers such as petroleum jelly such as Vaseline or fragrance-free ointments and creams. As much as possible, avoid sun exposure and make sure your child wears sunscreen when she goes outside the house. Lastly, apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream sparingly for 3 to 7 days.

When the problem persists despite these self-care measures, call your doctor immediately. In very severe cases, your doctor may recommend prescription-strength corticosteroid (cortisone) cream, or natural Psoralen therapy (with or without laser) and ultraviolet light therapy, often referred to as PUVA.

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Categories: Health

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