Vitiligo is an acquired spotted hypomelanosis of the skin, most disturbing for people with skin phototypes 5 (brown) and 6 (dark brown) because of the disfiguring white and dark harlequinlike appearance. The occurrence of vitiligo in a prominent public figure, Michael Jackson (an African American with skin phototype 5), and the story of his successful use of topical monobenzyl of hydroquinone (to depigment the normal skin and accomplish a uniform skin color), was a major impetus in awakening interest in vitiligo. More information about the disease appeared in the public press during this period than had been written in all of recent times.
Fitzpatrick TB. Vitiligo. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(6):833-834. doi: