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Michael Jackson's Skin Condition - Vitiligo


Michael Jackson’s skin condition has been reported to be vitiligo. Vitiligo causes the the skin to loose it’s pigmentation resulting in white patches.

There is no known cause for vitiligo though doctors and scientists suspect is may be due to an immune system disorder. It does seem to be more common in people with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus. It most often starts as it did with Michael Jackson before the age of 40.

Michael Jackson’s skin condition began as most vitiligo cases do with skin areas exposed to the sun. In his case, it is most often reported to have been his hand – hence the trademark sequin glove used to hide the patches and also to protect the skin from the sun. Other common sun-exposed areas affected besides the hands include the feet, arms, face and lips.

Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns:

  • Focal. Depigmentation is limited to one or a few areas of your body.
  • Segmental. Loss of skin color occurs on only one side of your body.
  • Generalized. Pigment loss is widespread across many parts of your body, often symmetrically.

The natural course of vitiligo is difficult to predict. The depigmented patches can stop forming without treatment, but most often the white areas spread and can eventually involve most of the surface of your skin.

It is important if you have the same skin problem as Michael Jackson (the vitiligo) to use sunscreen and protective clothing to protect your skin.

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Treatments for vitiligo include medicines, light therapy and surgery. Not every treatment is right for everyone. Many have side effects. Some take a long time. Some do not always work.

Vitiligo affects all races, but may be more noticeable and disfiguring in people with darker skin. Vitiligo usually starts as small areas of pigment loss that spread with time. These changes in your skin can result in stress and worries about your appearance.

There is no cure for vitiligo. The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of pigment loss and, if you desire, attempt to return some color to your skin.

You should see a physician for diagnosis and treatment if areas of you skin, hair, or eyes lose coloring. Though no cure exists for vitiligo, there are treatments available to help slow and sometimes stop the process of depigmentation.

Medical treatment begins with self-care steps, such as using sunscreen. Use of cosmetic camouflage cream may improve the appearance of your skin.

Treatment for vitiligo may take as long as six to 18 months, and you may have to try more than one treatment before you find the one that works best for you. You may be prescribed topical corticosteroid therapy or topical immunomodulators or photochemotherapy or oral psoralen photochemotherapy (oral PUVA) or Narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy. Sometimes the best option is to attempt to depigment the remaining skin, especially if your vitiligo covers more than half your skin.

Vitiligo treatment choices are best discussed with your dermatologist. Remember to look for and seek comfort in support groups. Remember you share the disorder of vitiligo with Michael Jackson.

National Institute of Health
Vitiligo (American Academy of Dermatology)