White hair in children: Causes, concerns, and remedies
Growing older comes with a lot of unappealing developments, including greying hair. We love our natural hair color, and dread it when we see white hair peeking out from here and there on the head! Now imagine your children with white hair - that's not something you would expect to witness. Premature greying can be bothersome for your child's social life.
Here is what our expert says
- Whitening of hair in children can be in patches or cover the entire head, eyelashes or hair on the skin.
- When it occurs in patches it is called "poliosis."
- Rogue - a popular character in the X-men comics has poliosis.
- In real life, the whitening of hair in children can be genetic such as Waardenburg syndrome, or due to vitamin and other dietary deficiencies.
What causes premature greying?
The most common cause of premature greying of hair in children is genetics. Early onset of white hair can be passed on hereditarily. Some genetic conditions would include progeria, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome, Werner syndrome, etc. Vitamin deficiencies can also be a plausible cause. Environmental factors like air pollution, exposure to UV rays, or even the use of harsh hair products can cause hair to whiten.
Medical conditions may cause greying
Medical conditions also cause premature greying. Vitiligo is a condition where the skin ruins the color-producing part of the hair follicle. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, causes a sudden loss of hair, that when grows back can become white. Thyroid issues, either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can affect the hair in various ways including making it lose color. Stress can also be an important factor.
Treatment for premature greying
There's almost no treatment to stop greying of hair. If the reason behind your child's premature greying hair is a medical condition or vitamin deficiency, it can be addressed and treated with medicine under the guidance of a specialized doctor. You can color their hair, but, doctors would not recommend that. Once you start coloring, you must keep up with their hair growth.
Help a child accept their white hair
Not every case of premature greying can be altered, and your child may continue to have white hair. It can cause them to feel ashamed due to bullying by other children. Be a supporting parent, and help them accept their hair color. Teach the child about the cause of their grey hair, and use the opportunity to spread awareness among their peers.