Albinism is a health condition in which a baby is born with little or zero melanin pigment in the body. Sometimes this health condition may develop in early childhood or teenage as well. Note that melanin is the pigment which gives color to the body. In fact, the colors of skin, eyes, and hair in different people tend to vary with the amount of melanin pigment produced by their bodies. Furthermore, melanin plays a significant role in the formation of optic nerves, which is really important for proper eyesight. Because of this, people with lower or zero level of melanin pigment may suffer from vision impairment as well.

Most people have a misconception that it is only people living in particular areas that are affected by albinism. In actuality, people of any race and place can develop this health condition since it is caused by genetic issues rather than environmental and social factors. Furthermore, people suffering from albinism are more vulnerable to sun rays and hence, they have to always apply a coat of sunscreen on their skin before they go out on a sunny day. Plus, the chances of developing skin cancer are more in these people. Sadly, there is no cure for albinism as of yet, and hence, people affected with it have to live with the symptoms forever. However, you can manage the complexity of the symptoms by taking proper care of your skin as well as your eyes.

The Symptoms

People with albinism can be easily identified by the difference in the color in their skin, eyes, and hair. Plus, vision impairment is a major red flag.


The most commonly evident signs of albinism are white body hairs and white body color, especially more when compared to other people of the same race, family, or locality. The color of the skin of a person suffering from albinism can range from notable white to brownish depending upon the amount of melanin pigment produced by their body. Sometimes, an albino individual can have almost the same skin color as that of his/her parent and siblings, who are not afflicted with albinism. In such cases, it may be hard to tell whether or not he or she has albinism. Moreover, albinism can result in many complications when it comes to the skin of a person, especially when it is exposed to the sun. Some of those complications are listed below.

  • Freckles
  • Pink-colored instead of the dark-colored tones because of lack of melanin pigmentation
  • Lentigines or large freckles
  • Inability to tan
  • Sunburns

While the skin color remains the same for some albino individuals, melanin production in the body of some people may improve during childhood and teenage years, eventually resulting in a slight change in skin color and pigmentation.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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