One afternoon, my neighbor came running to me, terrified. Her 4 year old daughter had a whitish discoloration over her cheeks and somebody had told her it could be Leucoderma or Vitiligo. After examining the child I assured her that it was not Leucoderma but a harmless condition called Pityriasis Alba.
You’ve probably noticed white patches like these on the faces of many children and even some adults. They’re either round or without a defined shape, and of a dry texture. There are many causes for this whitish discoloration, but the most common cause is Pityriasis Alba. The boy in the photo below has white patches on the face, which are classic of this disease.
What causes Pityriasis Alba?
The cause of Pityriasis Alba is still unknown, though it is usually found to occur during the summer months and mostly in children and adolescents, i.e. between 3 years to 15 years.
What does Pityriasis Alba look like?
It is whitish in color and more prominent on dark skin. It may be circular or of an irregular shape, and occurs commonly on the face. The texture will be dry and scaly and can also be itchy.
5 ways to get rid of White Spots on Face of your Child
1. Always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen when going outside.
2. Eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables.
3. Although worms don’t cause the patches, deworming every 6 months may help.
4. Some paediatricians advice the use of non-perfume and non-dye emollients to prevent dry skin that may lead to Pityriasis Alba
5. In some cases, antifungal creams may work if there is a coexisting fungal infection.
When should a doctor be consulted?
Pityriasis Alba is a self limiting disease and is likely to disappear on its own. You don’t need any specific medicine to get rid of white spots on the face. However, if it doesn’t subside, it’s better to consult your pediatrician or dermatologist especially if you notice the following signs:
1. There is severe itching over the area.
2. The whitish patch has changed color to reddish hue.
3. When more areas get involved.
There is no need to panic if you happen to notice these patches on your child’s face. But as with everything, it’s best to consult a doctor first to rule out any other illness.