Vitiligo is quite a common condition which makes the skin, and sometimes the hair, turn white in patches. This is because melanocytes, the cells which give the skin its colour, have been damaged.
Vitiligo is not contagious so if you have the condition, you cannot pass it on to someone else by touching them and it is not infectious. Vitiligo is considered to be an ‘autoimmune’ condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.
Most vitiligo gets better by itself and does not cause any lasting damage but can be psychologically distressing if in a prominent place. Sometimes ointments or light therapy can be effective. Sometimes, people wishing to cover up the patches can use what is known as camouflage make-up to blend to the surrounding skin.