There are several types of pityriasis, all of which are typified by patches of scaly skin. In some cases, these rashes don’t have an identifiable cause. They are generally mild and may resolve on their own with or without treatment.

Pityriasis Rosea

This condition is characterized by circular or oval patches of red, itchy skin. The rash starts as a single patch 2 to 3 days before the full breakout. The symptoms are usually confined to the trunk, but can appear on other areas including the face and arms. This form of pityriasis sometimes occurs several weeks after a viral upper respiratory tract infection, leading dermatologists to believe the rash is a secondary immune response to the initial viral infection. The rash itself is not contagious. The skin condition resolves within 6-12 weeks without leaving scars. Discomfort can be managed with oral antihistamines, topical steroids, and skin moisturizers.

Pityriasis Alba

This rash is thought to be a form of mild atopic dermatitis. It appears as patches of white, slightly scaly skin. Children are most likely to have this rash. Adults with a previous history of dermatitis may also be affected. Moisturizers such a Cetaphil and over-the-counter steroid creams can be used to treat this skin condition. In time, the rash will go away on its own.

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris

This is a very rare, chronic skin condition. It causes patches of skin to turn orange/red. These areas are very dry and scaly and may flake severely. This condition can be inherited and manifest in childhood, or it may develop as part of a cluster of immune disorders later in life. Treatment for this disease is similar to that for psoriasis (steroids, immune suppressants, biologics).

Return to Education Center

Dermatologist Beverly Hills Dermatologist Los AngelesCall us now at 310.205.3555 or 818.914.7546 to set up your appointment, or click here to set up your appointment online.