Bharathi I am a Medical Student with a passion for writing and a thirst for knowledge.

White Hair – Cause, Prevention, Remedies

5 min read

Shoot! Hide it, before anyone notices. Well, these are the thoughts in our mind when white hair gets exposed, eventhough we tried hiding it before leaving home.

Normally these thoughts will occur during the early time when you have one are two strands. Older people are not bothered much by its presence since it is one of the beauties of getting old.

But, for all those in your 20s and 30s where people hate to get any older, it’s completely devastating. Though we pretend not to worry, we certainly worry for various reasons. Why this occurs against our own wishes?

So, apparently, it is caused because of the pigment loss in hair. When the pigment loss begins, the hair turns gradually from black to grey to complete white.

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What Causes White Hair?

Like the nails, the hair is also made of a protein called keratin. The hair grows in the hair follicle and is made up of epithelial cells. As these epithelial cells multiply, the older cells are pushed out, upwards.

They die and harden, thus turning into the hair. This process is called keratinization. The growth of the hair is subdivided into three phases.

  • Anagen phase – a period of growth
  • Catagen phase – a detaching period where the hair detaches from its proper blood supply ( club hair)
  • Telogen phase – resting phase of club hair, while new hair grows underneath.

Coming back to the subject, the color of the hair is produced by melanin pigment released by melanocytes. Unlike skin, the pigmentation of hair is not very regular. Active pigmentation will be seen in the anagen phase which will gradually become inactive during catagen and telogen phases.

Also, according to aging, this pigment supply is impacted, which is why it turns grey and eventually white.

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What Causes White Hair In Young Age?

Not everyone can pull off the complete white hair looks like Khaleesi from Game of Thrones or our Tamil actor Ajith Kumar. So, what causes this white hair too soon? There are several causes for their early-onset.

1. Genetics

Premature graying of hair is largely connected to one’s genetics. Some may have grey hair before they even reach 20 because of their genes. Race and ethnicity also play a role.

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2. Vitamin Deficiency

People who are deficit in vitamins and minerals are prone to graying of hairs. Inadequate iron, folate, vitamin B12, D, E, and selenium contribute to premature graying.

Vitamin B complex plays an important role in healthy hair growth and hair color. This deficiency is associated with pernicious anemia where your body fails to absorb enough vitamins.

Your body requires vitamin B-12 for active red blood cells, that carry oxygen throughout the body, including hair. This deficiency can reduce hair cells and thus affect your melanin production.

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3. Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress can cause an excess of free radicals. It imbalances the effect of antioxidants that are insufficient to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage body cells, rendering to aging and disease. This molecule can also be caused by extrinsic factors like ultraviolet (UV) rays, pollution, emotional factors, or inflammatory causes.

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4. Stress

Every one of us faces some kind of stress every day. This stress can also affect our hair health. As a consequence of chronic stress, one may experience sleep problems, anxiety, change in appetite, and high blood pressure, etc.

If you stress more, there will be depletion of stem cells that will also affect your hair follicles. Hence, you must do relaxing actions to overcome stress and anxiety, for instance, physical activity, yoga, meditation, etc.

Surveys mention that the oxidative load caused by psychological stress can accelerate premature graying of hair.

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5. Smoking

Apart from the fact that smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer and heart disease, it is found to have a link with premature graying.
Smoking constricts the blood vessels. Hence, the blood flow will be affected, which include inadequate blood supply to your hair follicles. Thus, causing hair loss.

Besides, the toxins in cigarettes can also damage your body parts including your hair follicles, causing the premature formation of white hair.

Dermatology Online Journal indicates that smokers are 2 1/2 times more likely to begin graying before age 30 compared to non-smokers.

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6. Autoimmune Disease

Diseases like alopecia areata and vitiligo are associated with hair loss and pigment loss in hair. Here the body’s immune mechanism attacks its own cells.

In this condition, after hair loss, when it grows back they tend to lose pigmentation.

Check out, skin pigmentation and home remedies.

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7. Thyroid Dysfunction

Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland located at the lower front neck. This gland is responsible for regulating our body’s mechanisms.

Hormonal changes caused by a thyroid problem like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism may also be a reason for the cause of prematurely white hair. An overactive or underactive thyroid can result in the production of less melanin.

Research implies that an imbalance in hormones can trigger premature whitening of hair.

The deficiency of melanin can also cause this. For instance, if you take an albino patient the white hair indicates the pigment loss on hair. Like albinism where the patients lack melanin pigment production from melanocytes, their deficiency can change natural hair color.

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8. Malnutrition

Not enough nutrition supply can trigger hair graying. Enough nutrition is essential for a healthy and beautiful body overall. Therefore, you must ensure that you provide enough nutrients to your body to stay healthy. This can also help with delaying the process of greying hair.

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Can We Prevent The Occurrence Of White Hair?

It always depends on the cause, of the cause is genetic you cannot reverse or prevent it. If the cause is due to other health issues, you may or may not cure it by improving your health.

On the other hand, you might delay or prevent premature graying with proper diets and some natural remedies.

1. Diet

Rich antioxidant foods can enhance hair health and reduce oxidative stress.The antioxidants rich diet includes fresh fruits, vegetables, spinach, green tea, olive oil, fish, etc.

You can start taking in nutritious food that is rich in vitamin D and B12. This can help correct their deficiency, thus improving your hair health. For example, consume foods like mushrooms, beans, carrots, beef liver, eggs, whole grains, seafood, cheese, broccoli, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc

Further, it’s also important to consume foods that are rich in essential minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, and selenium. Drinking water from copper bottles can increase mineral absorption in your body.

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2. Quit Smoking

This is the most important step not only for healthy hair, but also to have a healthy life. This habit hugely influences the stability and health of both your body and mind.

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3. Natural remedies

This includes massaging your scalp with nutritious oils that are safe and beneficial. This stimulates the supply of blood to hair follicles thus enhancing the nutrients supply to hair growth.

Indian Gooseberry

Amla has anti-aging properties and can help with reversing premature graying of hair. They are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Using along with coconut oil can improve your hair health.

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Black Tea

The antioxidant in black tea can assist and prevent free radical damage to hair. It is also known to help relieve stress. Further, the usage of black tea on hair makes it dark, shiny, and smooth.

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Curry leaves

These leaves can help your hair to gain back its natural tone. Their use goes back to ages. When these leaves are used combined with coconut oil it can prevent greying as well as nourish the hair and promote hair growth.

Lemon extract

This citrus fruit is rich with vitamin C and antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. When used along with coconut oil, it can nourish and improve your hair health.

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Castor Oil

This oil increases blood circulation to your hair follicles. Castor oil has a great deal of omega-6 fatty acids that can facilitate hair health and improve hair pigmentation.

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Bhringaraj

Also known as a false daisy. This can improve pigmentation and prevent premature graying of hair. Their leaves are boiled along with coconut or sesame oil and applied topically on the scalp.

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Fenugreek seeds

They are packed with B vitamins and saponins that impede hair loss. Their usage of hair can bring back its natural tone and as a bonus, prevents dandruff invasion.

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Ridge Gourd

It can assist to restore natural hair color and prevent premature graying of hair. Massaging the scalp with ridge gourd and oil can stimulate your hair follicles, enabling its healthy growth.

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Bharathi I am a Medical Student with a passion for writing and a thirst for knowledge.

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