Introduction:It is normal for people’s hair colors to change as they age even though white hair can appear at almost any age. Even teenagers and people in their twenties may notice white hair strands. Millions of hair follicles or small sacs line the skin of the human body. Hair and pigment cells containing melanin are produced by the follicles. Hair follicles lose pigment cells over time, resulting in white hair. In this article, we will look at some of the most common causes of prematurely white hair, as well as ways to slow or prevent greying in some cases.
Causes of white hairThere can be many causes besides age that result in a person’s hair turning white.
Vitamin deficienciesVitamin B-6, B-12, biotin, vitamin D, and vitamin E deficiencies can all contribute to premature greying. According to a 2015 report published in the journal Development, various deficiency studies on vitamin D-3, vitamin B-12, and copper and their relationship to greying hair have been conducted. It discovers that nutritional deficiencies affect pigmentation, implying that color can be restored with vitamin supplementation. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Trichology investigated factors associated with premature greying in young Indians under the age of 25. It discovered that participants with premature hair greying had low levels of serum ferritin, which stores iron in the body, vitamin B-12, and the good cholesterol HDL-C.
GeneticsPremature graying of a person’s hair is largely connected to genetics, according to a 2013 report in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology. Race and ethnicity play roles, as well. Premature graying in white people can start as early as 20 years old, while a person can be as young as 25 years old among Asians, and 30 years in African-Americans populations, according to the same 2013 study.
Oxidative stressWhile greying is mostly genetic, oxidative stress in the body may play a role when it occurs prematurely. When antioxidants are insufficient to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals, oxidative stress occurs. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage and contribute to aging and disease. Excessive oxidative stress can promote the development of diseases, including the skin-pigment condition vitiligo. Vitiligo can also cause white hair due to melanin cell death or loss of cell function.
Certain medical conditionsA person’s risk of greying early may be increased by certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases. Hair abnormalities and thyroid dysfunction are linked, according to research published in 2008. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin condition that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other parts of the body, is also associated with white hair. Because of the lack of melanin in the hair, it grows back white.
Real-life stressorsReal-life stress, such as that caused by injury, has been linked to premature greying in research studies. When the body is under stress, the cells that control hair color can be depleted, according to a study published in Nature Medicine by New York University. Other research suggests that, while stress may play a role, it is only a small part of a larger picture that includes disease and other factors.
SmokingAccording to a 2013 study published in the Italian Dermatology Online Journal, smokers are 2 1/2 times more likely than non-smokers to begin greying before the age of 30. Smoking is also linked to premature white hair in young men, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Hair dyes and products containing chemicals Chemical hair dyes and hair products, including shampoos, can cause premature greying of the hair. Many of these products contain ingredients that reduce melanin production. One such harmful chemical is hydrogen peroxide, which is found in many hair dyes. Excessive use of bleaching products will eventually cause hair to turn white.
Can white hair be prevented?White hair can be reversed or prevented depending on the cause. There is nothing you can do to prevent or permanently reverse the color change if the cause is genetic. If you suspect a health problem, see a doctor see if white hair is caused by an underlying condition. Pigmentation may return if the underlying health problem is addressed, but there are no guarantees. If a thyroid problem causes white hair, re-pigmentation may occur after hormone therapy treatment, according to one study trusted Source. Correcting a vitamin B-12 deficiency with shots or pills may also improve the health of hair follicles and restore your natural color. There is no evidence to support the return of pigmentation after quitting smoking or reducing stress if white hair occurs as a result of stress or smoking.
Prevention and reversing premature white hairNothing can stop or reverse the process if it is caused by genetics or aging. If the loss is due to a medical condition, however, treating greying hair may allow color pigmentation to return. Correcting dietary and vitamin deficiencies that cause prematurely white hair may help to reverse the problem or prevent it from worsening.
Eating more antioxidantsWhite hair can be prevented by changing one’s diet. Antioxidant-rich foods can help to reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidant-rich foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Green tea
- Olive oil