Upper extremity moles were associated with a 37% increase in the likelihood of vitiligo among white women, according to an analysis of the prospective Nurses’ Health Study.

“Women with a higher tanning ability and women who had a history of blistering sunburns in childhood were also found to have a higher risk of developing vitiligo,” Rachel Dunlap, MD, of the department of dermatology, Brown University in Providence, R.I., and her associates wrote in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Vitiligo is the most common cutaneous depigmentation disorder, but associated risk factors are poorly understood, the investigators noted. They examined ties between skin pigmentation, reactions to sun exposure, and new onset vitiligo in the Nurses’ Health Study, a population-based prospective cohort study.