Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Michael Jackson's skin disease

Debunking myths and rumors has to be one of my favorite pasttimes and with Michael Jackson, there's never a shortage. People are so bombarded by media BS surrounding nearly every aspect of who Michael is and many celebrities in general. You'd be surprised the length they'll go to in order to distort some aspect of him, including doctoring pictures and photoshopping so it looks like this nose is falling off (by the way, that was a bandaid that the media photoshopped off the ends of so it looked like a flap of skin hanging off) or photoshopping lots of blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick where it isn't. Now, I'm not denying that Michael does wear makeup. But the media will often touch of the photos and brighten up the makeup so it looks outrageous. If you find originals and compare them to the ones in magazines, there is often some serious retouching.

One of the favorite things the media likes to talk about is Michael's so-called "skin bleaching". It was in 1993 on the Oprah Winfrey prime time interview that an emotional Michael revealed that he suffers from the skin disorder Vitiligo, which causes sufferers to lose their skin's pigmentation and ultimately become allergic to the sun. Of course no one believed him when he came forth with this confession and to this day a vast majority of the public believes Michael made himself white.

I am familiar with the skin disease as one of my mom's close friends (adopted Aunt) has it. Thus I know what it looks like from personal experience and I've stood a foot away from Michael Jackson and saw it all over his hands. Same thing. Vitiligo is hereditary (Michael's big sister Latoya has it as well, in fact she was whiter than Michael was in the early 90s). What Michael does do is he LOADS up on foundation and powder to try to even out his skin so it isn't as noticeable (it leaves colorless white blotches all over the skin). He adds makeup once in awhile to try to give his face a bit more color and this also explains "bizarre" behavior such as carrying an umbrella outdoors in the heat, glasses, hats, long hair, anything that covers and protects his skin from direct sunlight.

Below is the photographic evidence, including early shots of Michael in the late 70s as a teenager, one where the Vitiligo is visible on the side of his face, another from a book I have that was published in 1984 that shows Michael's face and neck covered in blotches once the heat from the stage lights caused his makeup to melt. If Michael was bleaching his skin, it would all be the same color. Take a look at any Vitiligo victim and their skin looks the same. Michael most likely does use skin-lightening creams to even it out further since his case is pretty severe and uses makeup to even out the rest. There is no cure for Vitiligo and it gets progressively worse. Also included are a few shots of Michael from the Brazilian version of his "They Don't Care About Us" Spike Lee directed music video, most of the shots feature his bare chest completely powdered so it looks normal but a few shots made it into the video prior to his make-up job. And lastly, the picture of Michael's leg comes from a court appearance Michael missed claiming he was bitten by a spider and had to go to the hospital. The judge didn't believe him and made him submit photographic evidence of the alleged spider bite, which was in fact real, and it further showcases some of the best pictures of his skin disease. There's no doubt that Michael isn't lying about having the disease, so you can tell all those non-believers to eat it! There are some people who have suggested that Michael also suffers from Lupus, and in the Thriller-era picture where Michael's face looks red some have said that's typical of a Lupus rash. Michael has also been a generous supporter of Lupus foundations, it is a possibility though unconfirmed.

Now, to add a note, there are many African Americans who suffer from Vitiligo. As a result, dark makeup is available to keep sufferers darker. Note that LaToya Jackson recently turned black again, this is how. So, one could argue that technically Michael could have done the same, though with the severity of the disease all over him, it might take more work than it was worth to him - still interesting and relevant to point out though, and a discussion I can understand having.

The following are un-doctored original photographs. Obviously the press would never release these (kind of like they never release of Michael playing and hugging little girls - of which there are thousands out there, instead they just show him with little boys, in an attempt to try to make him seem "obsessed" with boys, despite the fact that his charity work as always included boys and girls at about an equal ratio). Without further due - here are the pix - a Popspiracy exclusive!

UPDATE: Michael Jackson's multiple autopsies revealed he did indeed have Vitiligo and that his skin had an absence of melanocytes. This was also in the detailed report publicly released and was consistently mentioned throughout.

UPDATE 2: Michael Jackson's eldest son, Prince, also has Vitiligo, which can be seen on his shoulder, neck and fingers.


Amir said...

Before the MJ's story of the vitiligo peoples was no so familiar with vitiligo.
According to the some authorize vitiligo sites like and other our millions of
population is suffering from the vitiligo.
This is a fact that due to the MJ's Vitiligo, now vitiligo is more popularity as compare to the past.

Mike said...

wow this is an amazing article, and an amazing blog.

im a big fan of MJ and it disgusts me to see all that the media has done to him

check out my MJ blog at

ch555x said...

Interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. So many people including the media had a hand in pushing this poor guy over the edge. I'm a huge fan of MJ. I will miss the King of Pop, but this world doesn't deserve him. He's in a much better place now. RIP, MJ.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering where were all these morns when he desperately needed to be understood and loved.
We were just luck to enjoy sheer genius in our life time.

andrea said...

i really hope more people read this as so many are so ignorant. I grew up listening to MJ's his music and have always loved him. Society loves to judge, especially when they don't know the whole truth. Its ashame Michael didn't receive this much positive feedback when he was alive and needed it the most. Maybe his life wouldn't have ended so tragically, alothough we'll never know. I think he was beyond talented, and sadly, just misunderstood. He won't have to deal with any of the pain now. R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad about what happened to our most treasured caring King of Pop, but there is eight of nine Jackson siblings, why didn't this happen to any of them?

It seems to me, if something this serious affected him, why didn't something like this or something else happen to the rest of them?

I know Michael had problems, but, everybody has problems. That doesn't mean to go out and start doing drugs or alchohol. Those are excuses that people use to make themselves feel better about the situations but all it does is add to the problem and makes them worse.

He can admit he had a demerol addiction in one of his songs, but when confronted by a friend or family member he goes into denial? Come on Mike knew what he was doing.

He just like so many other people that commit suicide see that as a way of dealing with things not knowing or caring how its gonna affect someone else.

I have pity for Michael and the things that were causing him emotional strain and pain, but to end your life with drugs to get away from the stress and pain and leaving billions of fans and 3 children alone, I have to think strong and hard to forgive him for that.

Anonymous said...

Vitiligo runs on Joseph Jackson's side of the family and LaToya Jackson has it as well (just look at pictures of her in the 80s then in the 90s. She is a darker shade now solely through makeup, in the 90s her skin was as light as Michael's.

I am not excusing Michael from his choices regarding handling of problems (though thus far, there are a tremendous amount of rumors and very little facts about his drug use. Most people who knew him and spent a great time with him throughout his last years and even final days claim they never saw anything suspicious in his behavior so as always I am cautious to pass a judgment on anyone without facts that are not only on blogs or CNN but officially confirmed. It is true that in the 90s, Michael had a painkiller addiction as expressed in the song "Morphine".

If Michael indeed had later drug problems, it would make sense he would need painkillers as he suffered from chronic back pain and multiple surgeries. That is why he would have begun to take such medications, which can ultimately become addictive to those who use them. Addiction is a sickness, not just a bad habit, and is a very complex issue that can't be summed up in a few sentences.

Again, you are making judgments based on rumors as supposed events, these have not been officially confirmed and I will not spread rumors on my site. PopSpiracy is dedicated to facts and reality, if anyone is interested in rumors there are thousands of other blogs out there dedicated to such lazy journalism.

To say that Michael even committed suicide is completely unknown at this point, and thus far signs don't appear to be pointing that way as he was preparing hard for his upcoming tour and clearly had the intention of doing a show this week.

As always opinions are appreciated but the aim of this page is to clear up media rumors and address facts and most of the comments mentioned are based on insubstantial evidence. I'm sure the truth will eventually emerge.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of MJ. Now i know the real story of the skin disease he had.

Michael Ramos said...

This story is really interesting for me because in this story I will know the disease MJ had.

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge fan of MJJ and I've always knew that he told the truth about his skin disorder...!
And there aren't only the fair stains on dark skin but take a look at his nails , they seem transparent , not like normal nails ...so to me it corroborate the theory of vitiligo...
anyway, now Michael rests in peace in a better place and that's the most important...
We will never forget our dearest king of pop...!

... said...

This is an tremendously amazing blog.

If people like the writer of this blog were in front of the media another story we were telling about Michael Jackson's life, as they (the media) are guilty to ALL wrong and stupid invented stories about M.J.

It is crazy the kind of pression he had to handle about the stories of "abuses to kids", "auto-bleached skin"...

People immediately forgot ALL that he did for music, all the enterteinment he gave us along our lives............... THIS IS VERY VERY SAD... ;-(

Juniperequinox@yahoo.ca said...

Great job on the MJ thing! I am very tired of seeing silly headlines about him and his skin. I seriously don't understand why nobody believed him. He must have said, "I have vitiligo" a million times, and people kept asking him, "Why is your skin so white?"

People just believe tabloid junk, instead of using their brains. For example, if he really wanted to be white, he would have stopped his skin-bleaching when he was a normal-white color, not when he was totally porcelain-white!

Anyway, I think your blog is great, cause I really do think it was a terrible the way he was harassed and portrayed by the media and the tabloids; I think its horrifying that those kind of terrible, made up lies hurt him so much.

James Kildare said...

Skin cancer is a type of cancer that affects more people in the world, being the most affected people of fair complexion, but it must be clarified that any person may suffer from skin cancer. Sunlight is a major cause for the development of skin cancer.

Causes of Skin Cancer:

The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer, especially when you are exposed for long periods of time in the sun. The best protection against skin cancer is to avoid excessive exposure to sunlight. Skin cancer detected early, offer greater chance of cure.

A precancerous lesion known as senile keratosis (solar) is the result of cumulative exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. This injury should be treated in time to avoid becoming a spinal cell carcinoma.

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nikaragua said...
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Missy Krissy said...

He suffered so much. He really did. To be a superstar plagued by something like vitiligo. And then there was the ignorance they so many spewed. That was painful to witness over the years. I truly felt for him and his delicate spirit. It hurts so badly, but I'm glad that God has called him home so that he can finally have comfort and truly be safe. RIP Michael.

scrappy21 said...

I was a big fun of Michael Jackson an i can understand his pain and frustration for having Vitiligo. I have this skin condition since i was 21 and to me its been so painful ashamed,e to have this problem at my age of 45 still haven't learn yet how to deal with it. not able to be at public wearing the clothes you want be at the ocean with out the sun bursting your skin is a terrible problem. regards Norma

male said...
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