Vitiligo is a common chronic acquired pigmentation disorder characterized by loss of functional melanocytes from the epidermis and follicular reservoir. Among multiple hypotheses which have been proposed in the pathogenesis of vitiligo, autoimmunity and oxidative stress-mediated toxicity in melanocytes remain most widely accepted. Macroautophagy is a lysosome-dependent degradation pathway which widely exists in eukaryotic cells. Autophagy participates in the oxidative stress response in many cells, which plays a protective role in preventing damage caused by oxidative stress. Recent studies have enrolled autophagy as an important regulator in limiting damage caused by UV light and lipid oxidation, keeping oxidative stress in a steady state in epidermal keratinocytes and maintaining normal proliferation and aging of melanocytes. Impairment of autophagy might disrupt the antioxidant defense system which renders melanocytes to oxidative insults. These findings provide supportive evidence to explore new ideas of the pathogenesis of vitiligo and other pigmentation disorders.