Overview

Vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo is unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect hair and the inside of the mouth.

Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself.

Treatment for vitiligo may restore color to the affected skin. But it does not prevent continued loss of skin color or a recurrence.

May 18, 2017
References
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  3. Felsten LM, et al. Vitiligo: A comprehensive overview. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2011;65:493.
  4. Whitton ME, et al. Interventions for vitiligo (review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html for link to abstract online. Accessed Feb. 1, 2017.
  5. Fleissig E, et al. Risk of sensorineural hearing loss in patients with vitiligo. Audiology and Neurotology. 2013;18:240.
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  10. Questions and answers about vitiligo. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Vitiligo/default.asp. Accessed Feb. 1, 2017.