The New England Journal of Medicine recently released results of a University of London study that shows people with vitiligo may have a natural protection against skin cancer.

According to the BBC report, 4300 people were identified as having a common gene mutation that increases the potential to develop vitiligo while simultaneously decreased their risk of skin cancer. In the study, 2813 individuals without vitiligo and 1514 with vitiligo underwent genetic testing. Researchers were able to identify 7 genes linked to vitiligo.

Approximately 70% of people have the specific gene combination that increases the chance of developing vitiligo and concurrently reducing their risk of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. Conversely, 30% have a gene combination that increases the risk of melanoma while lessening the risk of developing vitiligo.

According to the researchers, everybody has one of the two variations, though there is no guarantee based on the variants that people will or will not develop vitiligo or skin cancer.  Since there is no way for any of us to be certain, we repeat our mantra: “Never go out without sunscreen’s protection!”

Medical Director at

Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.

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