What medical condition did Michael Jackson have and how did it affect his appearance?


Quick Answer

Diagnosed with the skin disease vitiligo in 1986, Michael Jackson initially chose to conceal the small, white patches of skin with brown make up, long sleeves and his trademark gloves, explains Arogundade. As a child, areas of pale skin appeared, thereby alerting Jackson's family that he had inherited the auto-immune disorder. Over time, his natural pigmentation faded in larger areas, specifically his face, arms, chest and abdomen.

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Full Answer

Just four years after the release of his album "Thriller," Michael Jackson's vitiligo was in its infancy, states Arogundade. With only minor spots on his body in the beginning, it was easy for Jackson's make-up artist to mask the bleached areas for public appearances. Slowly, the vitiligo progressed so that Jackson had spots on his hands. To cover them up, he adopted the gloves that he became notorious for wearing.

As the disease became more aggressive, the white patches became more noticeable, eventually leaving Jackson's skin nearly devoid of color, states Arogundade. To even out his skin tone, he started using hydroquinone and Benoquin, chemicals commonly used to whiten skin.

Vitiligo is a disease that causes loss of skin pigmentation and can lead to premature graying or whitening of a person's hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, according to Mayo Clinic. It can also lead to a loss or change of color in the mucous membranes, retina, armpits, navel and rectum.

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