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Not to be confused with poliomyelitis, a viral disease that attacks nerves and causes paralysis.
Vitiligo and Poliosis.jpg
Depigmentation of sections of skin and hair in 48-year-old man with vitiligo and poliosis.
Classification and external resources
Specialty dermatology
ICD-10 L67.1 (ILDS L67.150)
DiseasesDB 29296

Poliosis is the decrease or absence of melanin (or color) in head hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes. It can give rise to a "Mallen Streak" that can be hereditary. Catherine Cookson wrote a novel and later a TV series called The Mallen Streak, where a family had the condition. Sports presenter Dickie Davies and runner Sam Brown were famous for this feature. People with Waardenburg syndrome usually present this symptom, as do 60% of patients with tuberous sclerosis.[1]

This condition can cause white patches (singular or multiple - usually single) on the hair. Most people confuse these white patches as simple birth marks.


  1. ^ Willacy H. (2010). "Tuberous Sclerosis". PatientPlus. Patient.info. Retrieved May 2, 2011.