Vitiligo. This skin disease often forms on both sides of the body as shown here on the knees.
Vitiligo (vit-uh-lie-go) causes the skin to lose color. Patches of lighter skin appear. Some people develop a few patches. Others lose much more skin color.
Vitiligo usually affects the skin, but it can develop anywhere we have pigment. Patches of hair can turn white. Some people lose color inside their mouths. Even an eye can lose some of its color.
People of all races and ethnicities get vitiligo.
Vitiligo is not contagious. It is not life-threatening. But, vitiligo can be life-altering. Some people develop low self-esteem, no longer want to hang out with friends or develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies.
A coping strategy that helps many people is to learn about vitiligo. Another helpful strategy is to connect with others who have vitiligo.
Learn more about vitiligo
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Gawkrodger DJ, Ormerod AD, Shaw L et al. Guideline for the diagnosis and management of vitiligo. Br J Dermatol 2008; 159: 1051-76.
Nicolaidou E, Antoniou C, Stratigos A et al. Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy and 308-nm excimer laser in the treatment of vitiligo: a review. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009; 60: 470-7.
Whitton ME, Ashcroft DM, Gonzalez U. Therapeutic interventions for vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008; 59: 713-7.