How does vitiligo affect the body?

Vitiligo causes characteristic white patches on the skin. It also causes heightened skin and eye sensitivity to the sun. This makes you more prone to sunburn and skin cancer. Other than these effects, vitiligo doesn't directly affect your body. Many people, though, feel upset about the changes in their appearance. This may lead to anxiety or depression.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin and hair lose color because the pigment cells (melanocytes) die. The color loss may occur in a bilateral pattern, affecting both hands or both knees, for example, or in a unilateral pattern, affecting just one leg or arm.

There are three subtypes of vitiligo. In localized vitiligo, one or a few spots of color loss appear on one or a few areas of the body. In generalized vitiligo, patches of color loss may be scattered throughout the skin and hair. In universal vitiligo, a rare form of the disease, most skin and hair pigment is lost. Consult your dermatologist for more information about vitiligo.

Continue Learning about Skin Disorders

Why Is My Skin Itchy?
Why Is My Skin Itchy?
In the 1955 Billy Wilder film, The Seven Year Itch, The Girl (Marilyn Monroe) and her neighbor Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) take a stroll in NYC. As sh...
Read More
What alternative remedies are used to treat skin inflammation?
Dr. Daniel R. Spogen, MDDr. Daniel R. Spogen, MD
Alternative remedies used to treat skin inflammation include herbal and natural remedies, likely dat...
More Answers
6 Things That Can Worsen Atopic Dermatitis
6 Things That Can Worsen Atopic Dermatitis6 Things That Can Worsen Atopic Dermatitis6 Things That Can Worsen Atopic Dermatitis6 Things That Can Worsen Atopic Dermatitis
Dry temperatures, chemicals and other atopic dermatitis triggers to avoid.
Start Slideshow
What Causes Cellulite?
What Causes Cellulite?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.