Vitiligo: Symptoms & Signs

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

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Medically Reviewed on 7/11/2020
References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.
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