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Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis rosea  is a common skin condition characterized by scaly, pink, and inflamed skin. It is a common disorder in children and young adults. It often begins with a large scaly lesion called the herald patch. Within days to weeks after, many smaller scaly patches begin to appear and can continue to appear for weeks. They are often oval, and may take on the pattern of a Christmas tree on the back and anterior trunk.

The cause of pityriasis rosea is unknown, although many clinicians suspect a virus. However, it is unlikely that anyone else would become infected in the family since the degree of contagion is low. The typical course for resolution of pityriasis rosea is approximately six to twelve weeks.

Some patients have nothing but non-itchy scaling areas, whereas other patients have associated low-grade fevers and a considerable degree of itchiness. The lesions of pityriasis rosea will go away on their own, and treatment is only needed to help with the itching. Some patients may have some temporary areas of pigment change at the sites of lesions, but this tends to resolve during the months that follow. Occasionally pityriasis rosea may recur once, usually 6 to 12 months after the initial episode.

Treatment

The lesions of pityriasis rosea will go away on their own, and treatment is only needed to help with the itching.

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If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists from the Division of Dermatology, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). You can also request an appointment online.