What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a disease where patches of skin lose their color.

It can affect any part of the body hair including the inside of the mouth.

The condition can start at any age but often appears before age 20.

Canadian model Winnie Harlow told CNN she was once bullied for her appearance.

She intimated how she was labeled “cow” and “zebra,” and suffered so much she was forced to pull out of high school.

But far from becoming a recluse, Harlow is now on catwalks worldwide and the face of global brands.

According to Mayo Clinic, Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.

The disease affects people of all skin types but most noticeable in people with darker skin.

Though it is not life-threatening or contagious, it can be stressful to the individual with the condition.

Dr. Hamzavi a Senior Staff Physician, says vitiligo does not affect everybody the same way.

It is also often associated with internal conditions such as thyroid abnormalities.


Some symptoms of Vitiligo are:

  • Patchy loss of skin color
  • Premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
  • Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth and nose (mucous membranes)
  • Loss of or change in color of the inner layer of the eyeball (retina)

According to WHO, depending on the type of vitiligo you have, the discolored patches may cover:

  • Many parts of your body (generalized vitiligo): which is the most common type
  • Only one side of your body (segmental vitiligo): tends to occur at a younger age, progress for a year or two, then stops.