Dr. Arnold Klein, Jackson's former dermatologist, suggests that the late artist's condition was so bad that bleaching his entire body was the only option. Klein states that patches of white skin appeared on his hands and face via vitiligo--a condition that destroys pigment producing cells, causing an irregular, uneven skin tone--and had to consider a severe form of treatment, in order for Jackson to perform.
Klein suggests that certain chemical creams gave Jackson's pigment a lighter tone, so that the patches from vitiligo mixed with the creams' results. Prescription drugs, ultraviolet light treatments, and heavy make-up weren't considered in Jackson's case because a temporarily darker skin tone would result.
Jackson bore a completely lighter skin tone from the mid-'90s until his death. Despite his revolutionary physical change, however, Jackson performed as if his skin color didn't matter.