Vitiligo has been mentioned in the tomes of every major religion, with its first description dating back more than 3000 years, to the earliest Vedic and Egyptian texts. Despite this ancient recognition, confusion with disorders such as leprosy has been a problem throughout the ages. This has lead to the stigmatization of vitiligo sufferers. This is a social problem that is still widespread in some, but not all, parts of the world. The ancients also practiced phototherapy for vitiligo. This practice only became common in the Western world with development of psoralen plus ultraviolet A and later ultraviolet B phototherapy in the latter half of the 20th century. In this article, the history of vitiligo up until the end of the 20th century is outlined, covering medical, scientific, and social aspects.