Poikiloderma of Civatte

Poikiloderma refers to a variation in color that appears on the skin.

The condition was first described by Dr. Civatte, hence the full name of this eruption is Poikiloderma of Civatte. It is characterized by red-brown, irregular pigmented patches that also contains areas of hypopigmentation as well as some dilated or broken blood vessels (telangiectasias). Most commonly, the sides of the neck and sometimes the sides of the cheeks are affected. In some cases, it can also occur on the arms. Women are affected far more commonly than men.


This condition is thought to be caused by chronic and excessive sun exposure. The distribution of the eruption, affecting the sides of the neck but sparing the shaded area under the chin, suggests that sun is a key factor in the development of Poikiloderma.

In some patients, certain cosmetics, especially perfumes that make the skin more sensitive to the sun, might also contribute to the pigmentation observed in this condition and development of Poikiloderma.


Poikiloderma is often stubborn and has a variable response to treatment. A number of treatment strategies can be tried.

  • Patients should avoid the use of cosmetics and perfumes in the neck area especially. Perfumes may be applied to the clothes rather than the skin.
  • Broad spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and SPF of greater 30 should be used daily on the affected areas to prevent further darkening of the skin or worsening of this condition.
  • Certain “bleaching creams” and other lightening techniques can be tried and are sometimes effective in alleviating this condition.
  • Laser surgery is one of the most effective therapies for treating this condition. Intense Pulse Light and Pulse-Dye Lasers such as the V Beam Vascular Laser Therapy can be used to significantly reduce the discoloration and even out the tone and texture of the skin.

Don’t be frustrated by the changes in your skin. Talk to the dermatologists at Sanova Dermatology and find the best way to eliminate the damage in your skin.

Contact Sanova Dermatology

If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact us today.

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