No matter what you think of his music or lifestyle, over the years, many people have criticized the music megastar, Michael Jackson, because they claimed he was trying to distance himself from his blackness by trying to be white. But was his changing appearance completely misunderstood in part because he declined to publicize his medical condition?

Jacksons' condition fairly common.

In reality, Mr. Jackson shared a medical condition which is relatively common in people and now has been discovered in some water buffaloes.Michael Jackson had a relatively common (200,000 cases per year) medical condition “vitiligo” which describes a mysterious condition which causes the death of the melanocyte cells in the skin which carries pigment.

Progressively white appearance.

Following his appearance over the years, he appears more and more “white” but was this actually an attempt to avoid doing “black-face” in the old minstrel show sense, by not using makeup to cover white blotches on his skin.According to the National institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, one of the few treatment options is “Removing the color from other areas so they match the white patches.”

Psychological effects.

The psychological effects of this are well recognized and, in fact, patients are recommended to find a doctor who is both familiar with the disease and can provide emotional support. Although not uncommon, very little is known of vitiligo mainly because there has been little in the way of animal models which can be tested and experimented upon.

Indian scientists.

Recently Indian scientists working out of New Delhi have found a small number of water buffalos who have a condition which initially appears to be identical with the human vitiligo condition. This offers new hope to those with the condition because scientists can finally use an animal model to test medicines and other treatments.

Michael Jackson suffered from a real medical condition that did more than just affect his appearance andmust have been difficult for him. Recognition that he had few treatment options, many of which have severe side effects, combined with the many problems associated with becoming a megastar at a very young age may go far to rehabilitate his image for future generations.