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What Are These Patches On My Skin? Pityriasis Alba, Explained

See what doctors have said about it.
What is pityriasis alba
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Pityriasis alba is pretty much a new term for most of us. It's slowly becoming common knowledge when Dr. Aivee Teo of The Aivee Clinic shared in her vlog that Kathryn Bernardo had the said skin condition after staying under the sun for long hours.

"Alam mo what happened to you? Nagkaroon ka ng pityriasis alba," the celebrity doctor said. "Pityriasis alba is a condition where after you get sunburned, white patches appear," she further explained.

Kathryn asked what would happen when she stays under the sun again. Dr. Aivee replied, "Lalong magwa-white 'yung white, magda-dark 'yung dark."

Doctor Aivee Teo explaining pityriasis alba to celebrity patient, Kathryn Bernardo.
YouTube/Aivee Day
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This got us curious about pityriasis alba is so we made a mini-investigation. Learn more about it below:

What is pityriasis alba?

According to the Board's Fodder by Gina Chacon, MD, and Meredith Hancock, MD, pityriasis alba is a type of hypopigmented skin condition or when there is a "reduced number of active melanocytes and decreased size and numbers of melanosomes in the affected area."

The skin condition is more common in children and teens than adults. The lesions appear white, dry, or powdery and with pink borders. They come in round, oval, or ill-defined shapes.

According to this study by Dr.   

Info in a nutshell: Pityriasis alba is described as light-colored scaly patches. They appear to be round, oval, or irregular. 

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What are its usual causes of pityriasis alba?

The cause of this skin condition is unknown. From the same study of Dr.   It is not contagious.

Info in a nutshell: The cause of pityriasis alba is unknown but it is more noticeable when the patient has a darker skin tone or becomes tanner. 

Is it possible to treat pityriasis alba?

There are instances when pityriasis alba goes away on its own, but doctors may recommending applying a moisturizer or cream on the affected area. Topical corticosteroids can help ease inflammation. In Dr. Aivee Teo's vlog, she prescribed skin treatments to help Kathryn. 

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Info in a nutshell: Yes, but it may go away on its own.

Does pityriasis alba ever come back?

Healthline explained that pityriasis alba may return in the future. We highly recommend consulting a doctor when seeking to treat the skin condition.

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