Why Is Hair White? What is Premature Whitening?

Although graying of hair is a normal condition in the aging process, many people wonder why it turns gray. Hair follicles have cells that make a pigment called melanin, a chemical that gives hair its color. As we age, these cells begin to die. Without pigment, new strands of hair grow lighter, taking on shades of gray, silver, and eventually white. When a hair follicle stops making melanin, it cannot form colored hair again.

After the age of 30, the risk of graying hair increases by 10-20% every 10 years. When it turns gray, many women can dye their hair to its original color or a different color. Women today are lucky to have many options when it comes to white or graying hair. Ladies or gentlemen, by choosing to dye their grayed hair, they can look good and feel good no matter what age they are.

Premature Whitening

It is mostly genes that determine how early and how fast the graying of hair will occur. In particular, premature graying of hair seems to be genetic. So if one of the parents has completely gray hair in their 30s, there’s a good chance their children will too. Some people’s hair turns gray 10 or more years earlier than the average person. If the hair turns gray before the age of 20 in whites, 25 in Asians, and 30 in African Americans, it is said to be premature graying. Although not always, the graying of the hair starts around the temples.

Causes of Premature Whitening

A person’s hair can turn white for many reasons other than age.

Genetics: Studies show that genetics plays a major role in premature graying of hair.

Race: Race and ethnicity also play a role in early whitening. Whites’ hair starts graying on average in their mid-30s, Asians in their late 30s, African Americans generally don’t see color changes until their mid-40s.

Some health problems can also turn hair white. These problems are:

Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks a certain part of the body. Vitiligo is one of them, the immune system attacks and destroys the pigment-producing cells in the scalp, so the hair turns gray.

Vitamin deficiencies: B12, B6, biotin (vitamin B7 or H), vitamin E and vitamin D deficiencies can cause premature whitening. Some researchers say that nutritional deficiencies affect hair pigmentation, and the color can be restored with vitamin supplements.

Thyroid disorders: Some studies show a link between graying and abnormalities in hair and thyroid dysfunction.

Alopecia areata: It causes uneven hair loss and mimics sudden whitening. This is because the hair left after shedding is usually white or gray. Hair that grows back later may be in its natural color or may be white or gray.

Oxidative stress: Graying is mostly genetic, but premature graying can occur due to oxidative stress. In the case of oxidative stress, antioxidants are not enough to counter the damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules in cells. Thus, aging and some diseases occur. Oxidative stress intensity can also promote the development of vitiligo and turn hair white.

Stress: Stress can also cause premature graying of hair and an increase in hair loss. Studies have shown that if the body is under stress, the cells that give color to the hair can be reduced. Stress can trigger Telogen effluvium (TE), a problem with hair loss. In the presence of this problem, hair falls 3 times faster. Due to stress, hair follicles are affected and enter the resting phase. The regrowth hair may be gray.

Smoking: Smoking is not good for any part of the body, including hair. Studies show that young men who smoke may experience premature graying of their hair. One study found that smokers were two and a half times more likely to have gray hair before the age of 30 than non-smokers. If smoking or using tobacco should be stopped, if help is needed, talk to a doctor. There are some prescription drugs and smoking cessation programs that can help quit smoking.

Hair dyes and other chemical hair products: Even chemical hair dyes and some hair care products, shampoos can contribute to premature graying of hair. These products contain harmful ingredients that reduce melanin. Hydrogen peroxide in the content of most hair dyes is also a harmful chemical.

Some rare hereditary tumors: Some rare types of tumors of genetic origin can also cause graying of the hair.

How Can Premature Whitening Be Prevented?

If the cause of premature whitening is aging or genetics, nothing to do can prevent or reverse the whitening process. If the hair color loss is due to a medical problem, some treatments can return the pigmentation. If the reason for premature graying of hair is vitamin deficiency and diet, replacing the deficiencies and regulating the nutrition can reverse the graying problem or stop it from getting worse. A diet rich in antioxidants (such as fresh vegetables and fruits, olives, olive oil, green tea, and fish) reduces oxidative stress. The use of good sources of vitamin B12 (such as eggs, seafood, red meat) and vitamin D (such as salmon, cheese, milk) may also work. Vitamin supplements that can correct deficiencies can be purchased without a prescription.

White Hair Should Not Be Plucked

Some people believe that if a gray or white hair is plucked from the root, three white hairs will grow in their place. Although these superstitions are not true, white hair should not be plucked. Some areas may appear bald if many strands of white hair are plucked. White hair will appear again in the plucked areas. Too much plucking can damage the roots of the hair too much and the hair can no longer grow. This will cause the hair to thin over time. Coloring grayed or bleached hair is better than plucking it.

To Dye or Not to Dye Why Does Hair Turn White?

Those who do not want to accept their gray hair and leave it that way can dye their hair. Grayed or grayed hair can be dyed at home by purchasing a can of hair dye from a supermarket or pharmacy. Look for products designed specifically for gray hair. Permanent dyes will cover stubborn gray hair better than semi-permanent dyes. If some of the gray or white hair does not take on the color, a lighter color tone can be tried to blend with the grays and harmonize. Hairstylists can find quality products that can cover grays well. Powder pigments obtained from the leaves of the henna plant can work to camouflage gray hair roots. Those who are concerned about the harm of chemical dyes may consider using natural henna. Henna can add red, brown or black shine to any hair texture. With the right haircut, a good style and volume can be given to the hair and the hair can be straightened every 6-8 weeks. Women with mostly gray hair generally prefer short cuts. Long coats can also be beautiful and add movement to hair, giving it a healthy, vibrant look.


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