A skin disease that occurs when autoantibodies attack melanocytes (the skin cells that produce melanin or the chemical that produces skin color).

Vitiligo comes in many subtypes classified by the parts of the body where discoloration occurs:

  • Universal
  • Generalized
  • Segmental
  • Localized (focal)
  • Acrofacial
  • Mucosal
  • Trichrome

Common Symptoms

Loss of hair and skin pigmentation on the face, hands, arms, feet, groin, and genitals, early whitening/graying of your hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard, and lost pigmentation of the mucous membranes (specifically in the mouth and nose-lining tissues).

Coexisting Conditions

Social or psychological distress, higher susceptibility to sunburns and skin cancers, eye problems – retina or iris inflammation, hearing loss, and other autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Risk Factors

A family history of vitiligo or other autoimmune conditions, having an autoimmune condition, experiencing a trigger event (such as severe sunburn, emotional stress, or skin trauma like direct skin contact with a chemical), and having skin cancers such as melanoma, or lymphatic system cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 


  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Hadi, A., Wang, J. F., Uppal, P., Penn, L. A., & Elbuluk, N. (2020). Comorbid diseases of vitiligo: A 10-year cross-sectional retrospective study of an urban US population. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 82(3), 628–633.

    2. Nancy Garrick, D. D. (2017, April 12). Vitiligo. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; NIAMS.

    3. Vitiligo: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Recovery. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from

    4. Vitiligo—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from

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