Vitiligo is a condition where pigment is lost in various areas of the skin leaving white, irregular patches. Michael Jackson was probably the most famous person who had vitiligo. Many of us learned about how having vitiligo can affect one’s life through stories about him. My article titled “Vitiligo, Michael Jackson and 65 Million Others Worldwide,” which I wrote a couple of years ago, discussed aspects of his struggle and that of newscaster Lee Thomas who applies make-up to even his skin tone in order to appear on TV each night.
Vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune disease though the cause is unknown. Immune cells are thought to destroy the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes in the body. According to Pubmed Health, vitiligo has been associated with other immune diseases such as Addison's disease, hyperthyroidism and pernicious anemia.