Friday, January 1, 2010

My Experience With Pityriasis Alba

Please note: This is a review moved over from my old blog at
Written around: July 19th, 2009

One of the main reasons I wanted to start this blog was because I wanted to share my experiences with a minor form of atopic dermatitis called pityriasis alba.
A little background for those of you who may not know: pityriasis alba is Latin for white, scaly patches that most affects children who are usually between the ages of 6-12. It usually resolves by the time children reach adulthood. The following information was provided by my dermatologist: Pityriasis alba spots blend into the skin and are often found on the face and upper arms. It is caused by allergic reactions. Pityriasis alba is sometimes confused with tinea versicolor (I made this mistake). Tinea versicolor spots have a solid border, are caused by fungus, and are found mainly on the neck, check, and arms.

Twice when I was little, I had cases of white spots on my face. The first time, they went away by itself. The second time, I believe the condition lasted a little longer because I remember going to the doctor and being prescribed a topical treatment. I don’t remember what the doctor diagnosed the condition as.

From the time I first began washing my face and using skincare products to last years pityriasis alba “outbreak”, my staples were Neutrogena’s Liquid Facial Cleanser, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and Olay Original Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid. I was often complimented on my clear skin.

During mid-July 2008 though, the white spots showed up on my face again. This time, they were concentrated on my right cheek. A month later, the spots weren’t getting any better so after a lot of reading up online, I self-diagnosed the white spots as “tinea versicolor” and bought a bottle of Nizoral dandruff shampoo to treat them. During the next two weeks of usage, three new white spots/dry spots appeared along my jaw, near my mouth, and on my left cheek. For a few days during the first week, redness went away, my skin felt smooth, and the white spots were very visible.
But after two weeks of using Nizoral, I woke up one day, saw that my skin was in the worst condition it has ever been in (extremely inflammed, red, and dry) and decided to immediately cease application of any face product except for Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. I didn’t wash my face for the next 8 days. The dryness went away and the white spots seemed to be less noticeable. I gave in on the 9th day though and washed gently with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. The white spot on my right cheek (my biggest concern compared to the other white spots because this was the most troublesome one) became red again.

September 2, 2008

September 6, 2008. Immediately ceased washing my face with anything but water.

Sometime during the Nizoral testing, I was able to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist and we met late September. I was told to try out CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser (I had never heard of the brand before this) and was prescribed Verdeso (a form of topical steroid) for when my skin was inflammed. A week later, I had another appointment to see how things had turned out. Turns out, we had a miscommunication and I had been misusing the Verdeso. I thought my dermatologist had instructed me to use it when my skin was red (which is often) but he said I was only supposed to use it when my skin was noticeably dry or itchy. Thank goodness only a week had passed by because I seriously did not want to experience the side effects of misuse: stretch marks, bruising, thinning of skin (yikes!), and others. After my appointment, I purchased a tub of CeraVe Moisturizing Cream to go along with my Hydrating Cleanser and haven’t switched to anything new since.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Clear, thin, watery consistency. Easy to spread all over face. A little goes a long way (this applies to CeraVe’s entire line of skin care products). No fragrance.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Thick, fragrant-less, and extremely moisturizing. Again, a little goes a long way. My first tub lasted me for over 6 months! I used it twice daily, if not more, over my entire face. Sometimes I used it on my hands too but that was not often. It took a while to get used to the thick consistency since I had been using Olay’s thin facial lotion for so many years but I absolutely love it now.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
I use this during the summer months when it’s too hot to use the cream. It’s consistency is as thin as the cleanser. It is also fragrant-less.

If you're interested in a more detailed review of the CeraVe line: please see my comparison post on CeraVe vs. Cetaphil here.

Concerning pityriasis alba, my face has been very good since I’ve began using CeraVe’s skin care line almost a year ago. My face cleared up of the white spots and dryness and redness that came with it within three months. Every once in a while, I experience some dryness on my skin but it has yet to turn into anything worse. I really love CeraVe’s skin care line because of what it has done for my skin!
Other brands my dermatologist recommended were: Dove, Aveeno, Cetaphil, and Oil of Olay.

Some informative links:


  1. Hey there, can't believe the tinea versicolor had you as well. I'm reading this all the way from Brazil and have been treating the wrong disease for the past 3 years. Just wanted to ask if you also had/have issues with allergies such as hay fever, rhinitis. Thanks!

  2. Hi Anonymous!

    No, I don't have issues with allergies such as hay fever or rhinitis (not that I know of at least). I do have allergies in general. Mostly runny nose and once a while, itchy throat.


  3. hi, ive had pityriases alba for nearlly 11 years and it has not gone better, i literally look horrible and more spots keep appearing especially in summer. i went to the dermatologist a while back and they told me not to worr as it will go, but its been a matter of years since ive had these. Please help me! did your white patches go away with this cerave? ive never heard of cerave before. Thanks so much x

  4. Hey!
    So this will work for white patches on the face? Pityriases Alba on the face?? :)

  5. Thanks so much for sharing....I am doing some research myself as I have noticed some white spots on my cheeks and at the edges of my mouth and chin. I'm not sure if it is Tinea versicolor or Pityriasis Alba.

    Only until recently I started using facial products, before I just use soap and water and some idiot told me I need to start caring for my face. It is only after this I noticed this development.

    I live in the Caribbean and it itches when I am in the sun or sweating (when indoors and cool I am fine) however, I recently went to England and it was pretty cold and I noticed the spots to be more pronounced. It was also itchy. But I have never experienced any redness or scaling.

    I haven't seen the Cera ve products in Trinidad however, I having been using the Olay complete all day moisturizer with sunscreen Board Spectrum SPF 15. I think this might have been saving me.

    Today actually I went out and got the Olay Foaming Face Wash (Sensitive) (NO OIL and NO SOAP and FRAGRANCE FREE) DERMATOLOGIST TESTED. I hope it works...

    Also I have read some home remedies for Pityriasis Alba are cabbage juice (which I eat regularly, so that might have been another saving grace) or lemon water and ginger juice. I am also trying these and going with the fact that it may be P.A.

    If it is T.V. well I hope I am doing something right.

    I really don't care to be spotted :)

    Thanks again...very much appreciated

  6. Thanks much for sharing

  7. I have had this for years now it gets really bad inn summer but I seem to get it in my upper legs front and back,has anyone had it there before

  8. Ive being living in USA for a year now and I recetly started having white discolorations on my face.

    Nurse practicioner told me was pitiriasis alba and prescribe me cerave. Ill give it a try.
    I was using cethapil before for over a year but I fell this is spreading allover my face.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing.. I'm 24 y.o. and living in tropical country. I consider Pytiriasis as a big problem since the white non-itchy spots are very visible over my tanned skin. I had pytriasis alba since I was teenager.. I went to several doctors and beauty clinics. I took prescribed creams and it turns out to be working. I used it for about 5 years, but the creams are very strong (and maybe harmful to some extent) and cause an addiction. So I stopped using it last year and I try to use moisturizers in the market i.e. the body shop or ponds. Now, my pytiriasis alba come back again with more white spots. It looks very horrible..! I never seen Cerave sold in my country. I tried Dove once, not compatible for me cause my skin is oily and Dove made it worse. I will try Oil of Olay and see if it works. :)

  10. Im from a tropical humid country in central america. Ive been in USA for 3 years.

    Started having this recently for almost a month its in both sides of my face they look oval. Doctor scratch my skin and they didnt found any fungus so she said it was pityriasis alba. She prescrve me *desodine * its a steroid Ive use id for 3 days and Ive notice that when I woke up in the morning they loo whiter.

    Im supposed to used this at night and moisturizers during the day . Ive heard *Protopic Ointment* its really good for this but the tub cost 765 dollars Its soo expensive.

  11. How long does it take for the discoloration to go away?


Constructive criticism is deeply appreciated. ♥