Jaundice is when your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow. It can be a sign of something serious, such as liver disease, so you need to get urgent medical help.

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • your skin or the white part of your eyes look yellow

You may also have itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual.

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Symptoms of jaundice

A white hand with skin looking yellow next to a white hand with no skin changes for comparison.
Your skin may look yellow if you have jaundice.
An eye, on someone with white skin, with a blue iris. The white part of the eye has turned yellow. The yellow is darker at the corners of the eye.
The white part of your eyes may also look yellow.
Someone with brown skin who has yellowing of the white part of the eye and the skin under the eyebrows.
Yellowing of the skin may be less noticeable if you have brown or black skin, but the white part of your eyes will look yellow.

Causes of jaundice

You may get jaundice if a substance called bilirubin builds up in your body.

There are lots of possible reasons for this and some of them are serious.

They include:

Treatments for jaundice depend on what's causing it.


Newborn jaundice

Jaundice is common in newborn babies and is usually harmless.

Find out about newborn jaundice

Page last reviewed: 22 January 2024
Next review due: 22 January 2027