Vitiligo: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 7/11/2020

Vitiligo is a condition in which pigment cells (melanocytes) of the skin are destroyed in certain areas, leading to fading of the skin in patchy areas.

Signs and symptoms of vitiligo include a

  • patchy loss of skin color, which usually first appears on the hands, face, and areas around body openings and the genitals;
  • premature whitening or graying of the hair on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard; and
  • loss of color in the tissues that line mouth and nose (mucous membranes).

The severity can vary among affected people.

Cause of vitiligo

The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, although it is believed to be an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly destroys certain cells within the body.

Other vitiligo symptoms and signs

  • Loss of Color in the Tissues That Line Mouth and Nose (Mucous Membranes)
  • Patchy Loss of Skin Color, Which Usually First Appears on the Hands, Face, and Areas Around Body Openings and the Genitals
  • Premature Whitening or Graying of the Hair on the Scalp, Eyelashes, Eyebrows, or Beard


Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.