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

Hand with skin looking yellow next to a hand with no skin changes for comparison. Shown on white skin.
Your skin may turn yellow if you have jaundice.
An eye 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.
Yellowing of the white part of the eye and the skin under the person's eyebrows. Shown on dark brown skin.
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 can 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: 12 March 2021
Next review due: 12 March 2024