Pityriasis is nothing but the flaking or scaling of the skin.
Common types are – Pityriasis rosea, pityriasis alba, pityriasis rubra, pityriasis versicolor, and dandruff (previously known as pityriasis capitis)
There are some uncommon/rare types too –
Pityriasis lichenoides chronica, Pityriasis lichenoides acuta, Pityriasis circinata, & Pityriasis amiantacea.
In this article, we are going to see the detailed information about the most common ones.
Pityriasis rosea –
Pityriasis rosea is a skin rash that starts as a single red, scaly area called a “herald patch“. Afterward, this patch turns into a pinkish rash all over the body.
(A case of Pityriasis rosea treated with Homeopathy)
Generally, it lasts about 3 months and goes away without any treatment. Mostly it is seen between 10-35 years of age.
Fever may occur before the start of the rash and the symptoms.
It is more common in spring.
The exact cause is unknown. It may occur due to Human herpesvirus 6 & 7.
A similar rash may also occur due to some medicines.
Signs and symptoms
- Initially, an upper respiratory tract infection may occur.
- A single red patch (herald) appears usually on the abdomen.
- The patch may also appear in the armpit too.
- Sometimes the patch looks like a group of small spots (like acne)
- After 1-2 weeks the patch spreads over the chest.
- Small, circular patches may appear on the back and neck several days later.
- In very few cases, the rash may appear on the extremities.
- There may be fever, fatigue, nausea along with rash.
- Mild to severe itching in the affected parts, which worsens if scratched.
Preventive measures –
Irritants such as soaps with fragrances, hot water, wool, and synthetic fabrics should be avoided.
Direct sunlight makes the lesions resolve more quickly. According to this principle, medical treatment with ultraviolet light has been used to hasten resolution, though studies disagree whether it decreases itching or not. UV therapy is most beneficial in the first week of the eruption.
In most patients, the condition lasts only a matter of weeks; in some cases, it can last longer (up to six months). The disease resolves completely without long-term effects. Two percent of patients have a recurrence.
Pityriasis alba –
Pityriasis alba (alba means ‘white’) is also a common skin condition that occurs mostly in children and young adults.
These are dry, fine-scaled, white patches on the face. It is generally a self-limiting condition.
In India, about 9 to 31% of school-going children have pityriasis alba once.
It is generally seen in children and teenagers between the ages of 3 to 16 years and is more common in males than females.
The exact cause is unknown.
Signs and symptoms
- It is mostly seen during winter days due to the dryness of the air.
- They get worse in summer days due to exposure to strong sunlight.
- Lesions are hypopigmented, round or oval-shaped, raised or flat.
- The patches vary in size and may up to 2 cm in size & 4-5 in numbers.
- The patches most commonly occur on the cheeks, but may also appear on the upper arms, neck, or shoulders.
The diagnostic differential should consider tinea and vitiligo amongst other causative factors.
Usually, no treatment is required as the patches get to settle in time. These patches may last from 1 month to 1 year or longer. The patches on the face take more time to go off.
Pityriasis rubra pilaris –
This is a chronic skin disease characterized by reddish-orange, scaling plaques and keratotic follicular papules.
Initially, the eruption is limited in the areas of the sides of the neck and trunk and the extensor surfaces of the extremities.
Signs and symptoms –
- The papules are reddish-brown patches (Rubra), about pinhead size, with severe flaking (pityriasis).
- There is intense itching, & thickening of the skin on the feet and hands too.
- Initially, there may be generalized swelling of the legs, feet and other parts of the body.
- The exact cause is not known. It may be acquired or inherited.
- It is mostly seen in people over the age of 50 years.
- Men and women are equally affected.
Pityriasis versicolor –
Pityriasis versicolor is also known as tinea versicolor.
In this condition, the skin eruptions appear on the trunk and proximal extremities.
Most of the cases of tinea versicolor are caused by the fungus (Malassezia globosa). The patches appear particularly in adolescents and young people who perspire heavily.
These are found normally on the skin and causes trouble in a warm and humid environment. But the triggering factors are poorly known.
This infection is more common in people who have seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and hyperhidrosis.
There may be mild itching and inflammation about the patches.
The patches are yellowish-brownish or hypopigmented with delicate scaling.
This is the most common fungal infection found in the tropical areas where there is high humidity, high temperature and frequent exposure to sunlight.
Signs and symptoms
- Occasional fine scaling of the skin producing a very superficial ash-like scale or guttate and nummular patches may also appear.
- Pale, dark tan or pinkish skin eruptions can be seen with sharp borders.
- Pityriasis versicolor is more common in hot, humid climates or in those who sweat heavily.
- The patches may recur every summer.
- In dark-skinned people, hypopigmentation (loss of color) is more common, while in lighter skin color, hyperpigmentation (increase in skin color) occurs.
The differential diagnosis for tinea versicolor – Pityriasis alba, Pityriasis rosea, Seborrheic dermatitis, Vitiligo, Leprosy, Syphilis, and Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation.
Also known as pityriasis capitis or pityriasis sicca.
Dandruff mainly affects the scalp. Flaking and mild itchiness are common symptoms.
It can result in social or self-esteem problems including depression.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a more severe form of the condition, which includes inflammation of the skin.
The cause is unknown, but the genetic and environmental factors may be the triggers.
The condition gets worse in the winter days due to the dryness in the atmosphere. In this condition, there is excessive growth of skin cells.
Dandruff is more common in males. It starts at about puberty & not seen after the age of 50 years.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of dandruff are an itchy scalp and flakiness. Red and greasy patches of skin and a tingly feeling on the skin are also symptoms.
Normally there is continuous replacement of the skin layers, where the cells are pushed outward where they die and flake off.
In peoples affected by dandruff, this process of skin replacement is rapid one with more flaking off. This appears as white or gray flakes on the scalp, skin, and clothes.
P. amiantacea –
It is an eczematous condition of the scalp. In this condition, there are thick scales attached in layers to the hair shaft. The removal of hairs attached to the scale may lead to temporary alopecia and scarring alopecia. It is a rare disease and found in females commonly.
P. lichenoides chronica –
This is an uncommon, idiopathic condition, characterized by scaly papules that last for months. This can be seen in adolescents and young people. It occurs at other sites of the body, but rarely on the face and scalp. The duration may last for months or even several years.
P. rotunda – also known as pityriasis circinata and Tinea circinata.
This is a disorder of keratinization of the skin with circular, scaly patches on the torso and proximal portions of the limbs.
Homeopathy treatment of Pityriasis –
There is no cure for Pityriasis. Most of the patients take antifungals and apply steroid cream for all types of Pityriasis, which suppresses the symptoms but do not treat the underlying causes.
But Homeopathy can treat this condition as it treats the ‘cause’ of the disease, rather than the disease. Homeopathy understands the person suffering from the disease, and helps to deal with the disease in a better way.
Homeopathy treats the cause of the disease and improves the symptoms in a safe and natural way.
Homeopathy always treats the person as a whole not only the disease. The homeopathic medicines are selected after analysis and evaluation of the case. Homeopathy case taking consists of physical as well as mental symptoms of the patient.
There is no disease-specific medicine in homeopathy. The prescription i.e. similimum is based on the totality of symptoms.
Homeopathic medicines are safe, natural and free from any harmful side effects.
I always suggest starting homeopathy as the first line of treatment. Don’t wait for your symptoms to become chronic, consult an expert homeopath to avoid complications.
Let’s have a look at leading and routinely prescribed homeopathic medicines for the treatment of Pityriasis –
Arsenicum album, Bacillinum, Borax, Calcarea carb, Natrum mur, Rhus tox, Phosphorus, Graphites, Natrum ars, Sulphur, Silicea, Radium brom, Tellurium, and many more.
“I believe that human health is a precious thing which may not be compromised at any cost. That’s why I strongly believe in Homeopathy, because it is so natural and NO harming side effects at all”.