Learn the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of jaundice (yellow skin). Jaundice occurs when there is excessive bilirubin in your system. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is formed by broken-down, dead red blood cells in the liver. The word “jaundice” is derived from the French word jaune, which means yellow. Bilirubin is a yellow-orange pigment found in bile, a fluid made by the liver. Bilirubin is produced . But jaundice itself causes few other symptoms in adults. However, in newborns with jaundice high bilirubin levels (hyperbilirubinemia) can cause a form of brain damage .