Pernicious Anaemia Society
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White scar like marks

I've had white scar like marks on my arm for as long as I can remember. I thought they were scars, but l've more now only a few. But they look worse since I got a tan to hide my paleness. I read a blog that said that they were a symptom of b12 d, which is a shock to me. Has anyone else got them? What causes them and how do I get rid of them if I can?

7 Replies

Have you shown them to GP?

There is a condition called vitiligo that can be associated with B12 deficiency/PA.

Have you been diagnosed with PA or B12 deficiency?


Yes, I have PA but didn't Associate this with it. Does it spread, how fast?


Vitiligo and PA often go hand in hand. No idea about spread and speed of spread, but someone here will!


Hi, I have vitiligo and b12d, originally was called as PA but not positive for IFA, :(

I have generalised vitiligo which started on my arms and spread very quickly. As my normal skin colour was olive or light brown it was quite noticeable. It has been active in patches, no rhyme or reason for when it started and stopped. Mine is an unusually fast and severe de pigmentation, not everyone will ever experience vitiligo severely, and if you are fair skinned it can sometimes be barely noticeable. It definitely preceded my b12 test results by a long way. I was lucky that it didn't touch my face for a long time, and only very gradually spread from my hairline. In fact I was more upset by getting white hair than the little pigment loss around my hairline. I was anyhow given some amazing makeup initially to cope with any social issues I may have had. In fact I didn't, and only ever used it on the back of my hands.

I know my vitiligo is hereditary, my grandmother had it.

I recently had b12 injections twice a week for seven weeks and following this have had some freckley looking repigmentation on my arms, but am still depigmenting elsewhere. It's the first time in eight years that I gained any pigment, so I guess that's a cause and effect established for the freckles. Along with some very strong sunshine.

I'm still struggling with b12 treatment though, and tbh, loss of pigment fades into insignificance compared with both the struggle to be treated and the difficulties of the damage done.

I've met a lot if people with vitiligo now, it sounds as if yours is not segmental, which is the one that people find hard to deal with. good luck with it, if you have a positive attitude you'll be fine, it is a cosmetic disorder, and if you are already being treated for b12d it may not get worse.


Hi Lindax, you might find this article interesting.


Sorry posted before I wanted to :0(

What Studies Say About Vitiligo and Vitamin B12

A study published in the journal, Clinical and Experimental Dermatology in January 2012 tested the relationship between vitamin B12, homocysteine levels and vitiligo depigmentation. This study confirmed the results of a number of similar studies that concluded that vitiligo patients do have higher homocysteine levels and lower vitamin B12 (and folic) levels.

In this new study, 69 vitiligo patients and 52 control subjects were recruited.

The vitiligo patients had higher levels of homocysteine and hemoglobin but the lower levels of vitamin B12, holotranscobalamine (a metabolite of vitamin B12) and folic acid.

The study’s author concluded that low vitamin B12 levels and high homocysteine levels should be taken as risk factors for vitiligo. They also deduced that vitamin B12 deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia shared common genetic roots.

In another study published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica in 1997, vitamin B12 was tested as a vitiligo treatment.

The 2-year study recruited 100 vitiligo patients who were given a course of vitamin B12 and folic acid combined with exposure to sunlight or UVB lamps.

The results showed that 6 patients experienced total repigmentation; 52% of patients experienced some form of appreciable repigmentation and in 64% of patients, depigmentation of the skin was stopped.

Another study published in the Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal in 2012 further confirmed the benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation in vitiligo patients. In that study, vitiligo patients had lower serum levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 but higher levels of homocysteine.

How Vitamin B12 Works for Vitiligo

Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to a disturbance in the oxidation-antioxidant system of the skin.

When there is not enough vitamin B12, the conversion of homocysteine to methionine does not proceed. This leads to metabolic diseases arising from low levels of methionine but, just as importantly, it causes other conditions related to the buildup of homocysteine.

The breakdown of homocysteine produces reactive oxygen species which are harmful free radicals that increase the oxidative stress on the skin. These free radicals overwhelm the antioxidants found in the skin and cause the destruction of melanocytes.

By a similar mechanism, vitamin B12 deficiency may increase oxidative stress through folic acid deficiency.

The folic acid ingested in humans is needed to supply the pterine group of tetrahydrobiopterine, an important cofactor in the production of melanin. However, when this cofactor is unavailable, there is an accumulation of a group of related compounds called pteridines.

Oxidized pteridines are responsible for the distinctive yellow-green and bluish fluoresce of vitiligo skins under special lights. They also promote the release of hydrogen peroxide which breaks down the melanocytes.

In summary, vitamin B12 is useful in the treatment of vitiligo because it reduces the oxidative stress on melanocytes. By its antioxidant protection, it increases the lifespan of melanocytes. As long as some melanocytes are still active, vitamin B12 can also stimulate the repigmentation of vitiligo spots.

Different clinical trials have established that vitamin B12 supplementation works better for vitiligo when it is combined with folic acid (and some amount of UV exposure). Therefore, when looking for a vitiligo supplement to help treat the hypopigmentation disorder, you should get a supplement that includes both vitamins

Callumae is an excellent example of such vitiligo supplements. It not only combines folic acid and vitamin B12 but it also includes other natural vitiligo remedies.

Hope it helps...


Very interesting. I definitely think there is a link. I have some vitiligo on my forehead that appeared a couple of years before discovering B12 deficiency. Interestingly I used to tan really well when younger but have not tanned for several years- until last year when I started B12 injections and started tanning again. Same this year- tanned again. I definitely think the B12 deficiency had an impact on my melanocytes although it was generalised inability to tan as well as one area of vitiligo.

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