Skip to main content
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

What are these dry white spots on my child's face?

Asked by Lee, Maryland

Open quote
Close quote

We just got back from the beach and I noticed that my 6-year-old daughter has some dry white spots on her face. I make sure she always wears sunscreen, and she has not had a sunburn. I've put lotion on her skin but it's not helping. She had eczema when she was younger but that always showed up on her arms and legs and not the face. What could this be?

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thanks for your question. In the summer, it's common for children and young adults to develop a benign skin condition called pityriasis alba. It consists of multiple lighter round patches of skin on the face and often is a little scaly so that it looks rough or like it's peeling slightly. It is unclear exactly what causes pityriasis alba but it does seem to be more common after sun exposure and in people who have eczema.

Pityriasis alba can last for weeks to years and is more noticeable in the summer when the surrounding skin is more tan than the affected spots. The lighter areas usually occur on the face but can also show up on the neck, shoulders and arms. The majority of people with this skin condition are between 3 and 16 years of age.

It's best to continue using sunscreen when outside to avoid sunburns and try to keep the skin color on the face about the same shade throughout. Moisturizers can help, and sometimes using a mild steroid cream such as hydrocortisone may improve the appearance of the skin as well as any itching that might accompany the spots.

Other skin conditions may also look like what you describe so it's always best to get confirmation from your child's doctor. Good luck.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
What are the potential problems with ovarian cysts?asked by: Asked by Jane Coles; Virginia
Why do I no longer need an antibiotic before teeth cleaning?asked by: Asked by Janet; Leeds
How frequently should a man urinate daily?asked by: Asked by Brian; Canada
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.