Symptoms of vitiligo include hair turning gray or white prematurely, discoloration of the skin, a change in the color of mucous membranes, and a loss or change of color in the retina, according to Mayo Clinic. Vitiligo causes patches of skin to turn white due to a loss of pigment.
White patches usually first occur on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the lips, face, feet, arms and hands, notes Mayo Clinic. Vitiligo may also cause skin discoloration near the rectum, navel, genitals or armpits. Although vitiligo may occur at any age, it is most common in people younger than 20.
Generalized vitiligo is the most common form of vitiligo, and usually the discolored patches occur symmetrically on the body, states Mayo Clinic. Segmental vitiligo is less common, and it is characterized by discoloration on one side of the body. Segmental vitiligo usually happens at a young age, and then usually stops within two years. Localized vitiligo is when discolored patches only occur on a few specific body parts.
Vitiligo may cause some people to have an increased risk of skin cancer or sunburn, according to Mayo Clinic. It may also cause some people to feel stressed psychologically or socially. Some people with vitiligo may have itchy or dry skin, and it may also cause hearing impairment or problems with the eyes.