Did Michael Jackson Have Vitiligo?
Yes, Michael Jackson had the skin disease vitiligo and he is probably the most famous person to have had the condition. The Mayo Clinic site says vitiligo "occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning." It is said to affect 1-2% of the world's population, can be hereditary, brought on by a trigger like stress or sunburn, or caused by an immune disorder. There is no cure.
In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Michael said that he first started noticing the blotches around the time of "Thriller" which was released in 1982 when he was 24.
As reported on the Vitiligo site, it could have been one of the reasons he started wearing the iconic single glove, to cover up a patch where there was loss of skin pigmentation, and the hat could have helped cover patches on his forehead.
The hats and sunglasses he wore in his later years could also be attributed to skin/light sensitivity as sufferers are more sensitive to sun and light.
Michael's autopsy gave proof that he suffered from vitiligo.
Did Michael Jackson bleach his skin, or do anything that deliberately made him whiter?
Vitiligo can be a progressive disease where the colourless patches get bigger over time. In rare cases it can affect all the pigmentation in the skin.
Michael's skin was not totally colourless when he died. The autopsy report says, "some areas of the skin appear light and others appear dark."
To cope, it is known that Michael used make-up to try and even out the patches. In his interview with Oprah, Michael said, “We’re trying to control it, and using make-up evens it out, because it makes blotches on the skin.”
A popular theory, discussed in a post on the Vitiligo Clinic site, was that "his skin seemed to get lighter over time, and he was accused of using a bleaching treatment on his skin. That, combined with multiple plastic surgeries that changed a number of his features (nose, chin, etc), suggested that he wanted to look less like himself, and more like someone else – some have said he 'wanted to look white.'"
But it also suggests that the condition can make you depressed and hypersensitive about your appearance, so that you can go to great lengths to fix your appearance.
After his death, when police were searching his house, "detectives found 19 tubes of hydroquinone and 18 tubes of Benoquin, both of which are commonly used in the treatment of a skin condition ... called vitiligo," reports the US Today show. "The ... creams can be used to lighten skin that has retained its colour to give a more even appearance."
That article also quotes assistant professor of clinical dermatology Dr. David Sawcer as saying, "Some people with vitiligo get to the point where there is so much of them that is pale, it makes more sense to remove the bits that are brown."
How did Michael Jacksons cosmetic surgeries impact his skin?
While Michael's vitiligo and the treatment of it caused his skin to lighten, It was the plastic surgery that changed his face structure.
"Michael viewed his nose like an anorexic views the body. No matter how tiny his nose was, it was always too fat," Allure reports a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon as saying. The article also says that Michael had his first nose surgery after breaking it in a fall in 1979 and that his plastic surgeon in the 80s and 90s was Steven M. Hoefflin, who also worked on the skin grafts on his head after the singer was burned filming a Pepsi commercial.
There is a suggestion that Michael could have become addicted to painkillers after using them following the accident and resulting plastic surgeries.
In the mid-80s, Michael was diagnosed with lupus which could have caused the vitiligo, as well as hair-loss. The autopsy report did note that at the time of his death, his eyebrows and hairline were tattooed.
Has there been any public discussion about his daughter's skin (Paris Jackson)?
Due to her fairer skin and blue-green eyes, Michael's daughter, Paris Jackson, has been subjected to speculation that she is not the biological child of Michael. (Her mother, Debbie Rowe, is white.)
But in an article with Rolling Stone magazine, she refutes these arguments. “Most people that don’t know me call me white. I’ve got light skin and, especially since I’ve had my hair blond [but]... I consider myself black,” she says, noting that she has similar skin colour to TV actor Wentworth Miller who has a black dad and white mother.
She has also asked people to stop changing the colour of her skin. In a 2018 tweet, reported on Elle.com, she wrote: "I appreciate everything y'all make for me, I enjoy every single edit I see. But please stop lightening my skin to make me look more white. And please stop darkening my skin to make me look more mixed. I am what I am. I'm aware of what I look like and I finally happy with it."
Michael Jackson's 1991 song "Black or White", with its lyrics "It don't matter if you're black or white," has been attributed to his struggles with his skin colouring.