The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind treatment for the skin condition vitiligo.

Model Winnie Harlow (pictured above) is among an estimated 1 million Americans living with vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that destroys pigment cells in the body.

The FDA approved a drug called Opzelura, a topical skin cream that prevents the immune system from attacking pigment cells which give skin, hair and eyes their color.


“The medication helped stop the immune system from being too active and destroying the pigment cells in the body,” said Dr. David Rosmarin, who led the clinical trials at Tufts Medical Center.

“One year of using the cream, about half the patients who use it will get 75% or more of their pigment back on the face and about half of the patients will get 50% or more of the pigment back on the whole body,” Rosmarin said.

The prescription-only cream is approved for adults and children 12 years or older. The medication is safe and effective. Side effects are minimal.