How to Avoid White Hair
The human body has millions of hair follicles or small sacs lining the skin. The follicles generate hair and color or pigment cells that contain melanin. Over time, hair follicles lose pigment cells, resulting in white hair color.
In this article, we look at some common causes of prematurely white hair, along with ways to slow the graying process down or prevent it, in some instances.
One of the most vexing outcomes of modern lifestyle is white hair. Nothing matches the dread you feel at the appearance of your first white strand. You know that there will be more to follow, and you look for remedies and treatments that might stop the inevitable. And here, we are talking about premature graying.
The occurrence of white hair with old age is obvious. But, when you notice them in your early 30s and sometimes, even 20s, it’s absolutely disheartening. Both gray and white hair are the result of your hair losing its pigment. When there is a significant reduction in the pigment, the hair turns gray. When there is absolutely no pigment present, it turns white. The exact cause of this is yet to be discovered, but following I’ve put together the factors that lead to white hair and remedies for reversing white hair growth.
What Causes White Hair?
Hair growth happens when old cells are pushed out by the hair follicles due to the production of new cells. It occurs in three stages—growth (anagen), cessation (catagen), and rest (telogen). During the rest period, your hair reaches its lifespan and falls out, and a new strand grows in its place. When your hair grows, it is injected with pigments that give it color. With age, the amount of pigment that is injected into each strand of hair gets reduced, which is why it turns gray and eventually white.
Premature 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.
While graying is mostly genetic, oxidative stress in the body may play a part when the process happens prematurely.
Oxidative stress causes imbalances when antioxidants are not enough to counteract the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells, contributing to aging and disease.
Too much oxidative stress can promote the development of diseases, including the skin-pigment condition vitiligo. Vitiligo may also turn the hair white due to melanin cell death or the loss of cell function.
Your hormones have a huge impact on the pigmentation of your hair. An imbalance can cause your hair to turn white.
Certain underlying medical conditions can trigger a loss of pigment in your hair. They include a deficiency of vitamin B12 or problems with the thyroid and pituitary glands.
Stress caused by hectic schedules is a major cause of premature graying, along with excessive intake of alcohol and junk food.
Sometimes, usage of chemical-based shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, etc. may directly cause this problem. However, it can result from some allergic infections as well.
Changes to your hair color can occur due to external factors such as the climate, pollution, and exposure to certain chemicals. These factors speed up the process of aging.
A study from 2013 reported in the Italian Dermatology Online Journal, shows that smokers are 2 1/2 times more likely to start graying before age 30 as non-smokers.
A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology also demonstrated that smoking is linked to premature white hair in young men.
Chemical hair dyes and hair products, even shampoos, can contribute to premature hair graying. Many of these products contain harmful ingredients that decrease melanin.
Hydrogen peroxide, which is in many hair dyes, is one such harmful chemical. Excessive use of products that beach hair will also eventually cause it to turn white.
Can White Hair Be Prevented?
Whether or not hair graying can be reversed to help white hair turn black is largely dependent on the cause of the graying. If genetics are responsible, there is not much one can do to reverse the change.
If the cause is an underlying health problem, consulting a doctor to see what can be done is the best course of action. Once the problem is treated, it may help restore pigment to your hair. However, this cannot be guaranteed.
Re-pigmentation is sometimes possible after hormone therapy treatment. Another way to promote pigmentation is by taking shots or pills of vitamin B-12.