The vulva is usually slightly darker than the rest of your skin – dusky pink or brownish. There are two conditions in which it becomes white in colour.

Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a condition in which the vulva is usually itchy as well as pearly white in colour. It needs treatment, so see your doctor.


In vitiligo, the normal skin pigment is lost from patches of the skin, so those patches look milky white. If your skin is naturally dark, the vitiligo will be very obvious. The texture of the skin is normal, and the condition is not painful or itchy. It may affect other parts of your body as well, or the vulva may be the only site. Vitiligo often runs in families, and usually appears in the teens. It is probably an ‘autoimmune’ disorder in which the body makes antibodies against its own pigment cells. It is not known why it affects some parts of the body (such as the genitals, face, hands and feet) more than others.

Vitiligo on other parts of the body can be treated with ultraviolet light, usually two or three times a week for at least 6 months. This usually produces some repigmentation of the area and the effect is usually permanent. When it affects only the genital area, it is not usually treated, but if you are very distressed by it, ask your doctor for a referral to a dermatologist.


First published on:
Reviewed and edited by: Dr Laura Gush
Last updated: May 2021

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