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What is the difference between vitiligo and albinism?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

People are born with albinism, while vitiligo develops over time (usually before the age of 40). As well, people with albinism have little to no pigment in all of their skin, and their disorder directly affects their eyes; people with vitiligo start life with normal pigment in their skin and only lose pigment in certain patchy areas. Although both albinism and vitiligo have genetic links, scientists are not yet sure if other factors, such as emotional or physical stress, sunburn, or autoimmune disorders play a part in the development of vitiligo. Lastly, some kinds of albinism lead to other health issues, such as lowered immunity, while vitiligo usually only directly affects the skin and potentially the eyes.

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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.