What is the name of a disease characterized by portions of the skin losing their pigment?
Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease characterized by portions of the skin losing their pigment. It occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function. Aside from cases of contact with certain chemicals, the cause of vitiligo is unknown. Research suggests vitiligo may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. Vitiligo is typically classified into two main categories: segmental and non-segmental vitiligo.
Pop music icon Michael Jackson revealed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993 that he had vitiligo. This was confirmed by the autopsy report following his death in 2009.
Canadian model Chantelle Brown-Young has a prominent form of vitiligo. Her participation in the America's Next Top Model contest led to her being called a "vitiligo spokesmodel".