By Gary M. White, MD

Chemical leukoderma White patches on the left arm only after splashing chemicals there.

Chemical leukoderma is the complete loss of pigment in a localized area after skin contact with any of a variety of chemicals.


The changes of chemical leukoderma may be indistinguishable from vitiligo. White, depigmented macules and patches in the areas of contact are seen.

Chemical Leukoderma vs Vitiligo

Sometimes, it is hard to distinguish chemical leukoderma from vitiligo. For example, a young woman uses a new lip gloss and several days later, develops redness and irrition of the lip. 2 weeks later, a depigmented patch develops and persists. Was it chemical leukoderma or koebnerized vitiligo? In these situations, stopping any offending agents and treating as if vitiligo is in order.


Cessation of exposure is of course mandatory. The skin may or may not repigment. The standard treatments for vitiligo, e.g. nbUVB may be recommended. The 308-nm excimer laser has been employed with some success.

Additional Pictures

This middle-aged man held the pesticide sprayer in this arm's hand off and on treating his lawn over one year's time. Confetti-like white macules developed on this arm only.

Chemical Leukoderma

Gardening chemicals splashed on the left arm, causing a chemical leukoderma.
Chemical leukoderma

A woman bleached her underwear and developed depigmented patches at sites of contact.
Chemical Leukoderma Chemical Leukoderma


Footwear leukoderma. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2015;81:1-3

Leukoderma after imiquimod. from BMC Infect Dis. 2014; 14: 329


Home | FAQs | Use of Images | Privacy Policy | Contact

It is not the intention of to provide specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. only intends to provide users with information regarding various medical conditions for educational purposes and will not provide specific medical advice. Information on is not intended as a substitute for seeking medical treatment and you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and for answers to your individual questions. Information contained on should never cause you to disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment. If you live in the United States and believe you are having a medical emergency call 911 immediately.