Dyschromatosis symmetrica hereditaria (DSH) is a rare pigmentary genodermatosis, which is acquired by autosomal dominant inheritance with high penetrance. Most cases of this condition have been reported from East Asian countries, including Japan, China and Taiwan. Its symptoms are mixed hyper- and hypopigmented macules on the dorsal aspect of the hands and feet and freckle-like macules on the face. The gene responsible for DSH has been identified as adenosine deaminase acting on RNA1 (ADAR1). The ADAR1 protein catalyzes the transformation of adenosine to inosine in dsRNA substrates (so-called A-to-I editing) and is involved in various activities, such as viral inactivation, structural change of the protein and the resultant cell survival. However, its function in the skin and role in the development of DSH are still unknown. To date, more than 100 mutations of ADAR1 have been reported in patients with DSH, and the catalytic domain deaminase is believed to be crucial to the activities of this gene. Some complications of DSH have been reported and, intriguingly, several patients have been reported to develop neurological symptoms, such as dystonia and mental deterioration. Because ADAR1 plays various important roles in human tissue, we believe that a clarification of the pathogenesis of DSH will promote the understanding of the physiological functions of ADAR1, which will have significant scientific implications.