The main sign of vitiligo are:

  • Pigment loss that produces milky-white patches (depigmentation) on your skin
  • Other less common signs may include:
  • 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 (mucous membranes)
  • Loss of or change in color of the inner layer of your eye (retina)
A number of disorders can cause the hair to fall out. People who have an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata lose hair on their scalp, as well as on other parts of their body. Other health conditions that can cause excess hair loss include:
  • Generalized: In this most common subtype, pigment loss is widespread across many parts of your body, often symmetrically.
  • Segmental: Loss of skin color occurs on only one side of your body. This type tends to occur at a younger age, progress for a year or two, then stop.
  • Focal: Depigmentation is limited to one or a few areas of your body.

The natural course of vitiligo is difficult to predict. Sometimes the patches stop forming without treatment. In most cases, pigment loss spreads and can eventually involve most of the surface of your skin.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if areas of your skin, hair or eyes lose coloring. Although there's no cure for vitiligo, treatments exist that may help to stop or slow the process of depigmentation and attempt to return some color to your skin.

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