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: Get advice from 111 now if:

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

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

111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.

Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

Other ways to get help

Ask your GP practice for an urgent appointment.

Hand with skin looking yellow next to a hand with no skin changes for comparison. Shown on white skin.
Your skin may turn yellow with 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 look yellow with jaundice.
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 from jaundice may be less noticeable if you have brown or black skin, but you may notice the white part of your eyes looks yellow.

Causes of jaundice

Jaundice is caused by the build-up in your body of a yellow substance called bilirubin.

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