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Definition of Vitiligo

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Vitiligo: A condition in which the skin turns white due to the loss of pigment from the melanocytes, cells that produce the pigment melanin that gives the skin color. In vitiligo, the melanocytes are destroyed, leaving depigmented patches of skin. The hair that grows in areas affected by vitiligo may also turn white. The skin is not otherwise damaged. People with vitiligo must protect their skin from exposure to the sun. Also known as piebald skin and acquired leukoderma.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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