Vitiligo is a relatively common dermatologic finding and one that has been observed since ancient times. Depigmentation of the skin, with loss of melanocytes on histology characterizes this disorder. A range of clinical phenotypes lead to varying degrees of morbidity. The cause of vitiligo remains unknown, although an autoimmune pathogenesis seems most likely. Treatment also remains difficult. A number of new therapies show significant potential. In this review, we will focus on the classification of childhood vitiligo, hypotheses of pathogenesis and treatment. © 2005 by Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia.