While graying is a natural part of aging and can be caused by genetic factors, some graying occurs without melanin loss. In reality, graying hair is often a sign of poor health.
Melanin is produced in the hair follicles by melanocytes. Early graying can result from any factor, according to Dr. Zhang Hongjia (an attending physician at Peng Xianli Dermatology Clinic).
These are 10 side effects that can cause graying of hair.
Vitiligo refers to a condition where autoimmune cells attack melanocytes on the skin. This causes white patches to form on the body’s surfaces. The hair can turn white if the melanocytes located at its roots are also damaged.
2. Thyroid Dysfunction
” I always remind my patients that their skin and thyroid are best friends. “If one is not working, it will affect the other,” Dr. Zhang.
Thyroid dysfunction can also be called an autoimmune disorder. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss, hair follicle abnormalities, or even hair follicle dysfunction. The immune cells can also attack the melanocytes within hair follicles and cause gray hair growth.
Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain that is mainly caused by viral infection. It may also be caused by autoimmunity due to infection in a small number of cases. Melanocytes may be affected by inflammation.
Dr. Zhang says that clinical observation shows tuberculosis isn’t just confined to the lungs. It can also affect muscles, bones and hair follicles.
5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A lack of vitamin 12 may lead to gray hair. However, this is a rare situation. Only a small number of people with congenital malabsorption would have vitamin B12 deficiency even if they consume a lot of vitamin B12. People with gastric mucous membrane injury or atrophic gasestritis as well as people who have had gastric resection may be affected by vitamin B 12 as well as iron malabsorption. This is due to a lack of intrinsic gastric factors.
Patients with severe anemia are likely to grow gray hair, due to the body’s inability to absorb enough vitamin B12.
Depression can be caused by immune system dysfunction. The immune system can mistakenly or intentionally damage melanocytes if it is overactive.
8. Stress, emotional upheavals and overthinking
All of these factors can affect blood flow to the scalp. If hair follicles are not properly nourished, it can negatively affect the functioning of melanocytes, keratinocytes, and cause hair to turn gray.
9.Wind, Sun or Chemical Damage
External damage and stimuli, like severe sunburns and unsuitable shampoos, can cause hair follicles and melanocytes to become damaged.
Although shampoos and hair dyes have been thoroughly tested before being released to the public, some people may still react to them. Contact dermatitis is the most common. This causes an itchy, painful scalp and can even cause hair loss. Some people may be allergic to hair dyes’ PPD. It’s important to test for allergies before you use any of these products. Dr. Zhang stated that the patient was extremely careful, and she dyed her hair for a very long time. However, it was still allergic to the product.
Poor eating habits, diets and other lifestyle choices can cause nutritional imbalance. And the lack of vitamin B12, copper, zinc, and/or iron can lead to early graying.
Copper is able to maintain colors in hair and skin. Zinc helps produce hair follicle cell cells. Iron, the major component of hemoglobin (which carries oxygen throughout the body including the hair follicles), can also be used.
Eating Healthy Hair
Although you can’t control certain diseases, there are some things you can control. These include learning how to relax and maintain a healthy routine.
If gray hair occurs due to lack of melanin then you can reverse it by altering your lifestyle and eating habits.
In terms of diet, it is recommended to consume foods high in vitamin B12, copper, zinc, iron and other nutrients to help maintain healthy hair.
Iron: Pork liver, red meat, fish, and shellfish
Zinc: Oysters, fish, other seafood, offal, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, and soybeans
Copper: Crustaceans, shellfish, offal, and nuts
Vitamin B12: Milk, eggs, liver, meat, fish, clams, nori, and seaweed
The human body absorbs and uses three times more animal iron than it does vegetable iron. Consuming fruits high in vitamin C such as kiwis and guavas can help increase iron absorption.
Kelp is rich in vitamin B 12, iron and iodine. This is what is used to synthesize the thyroid hormones. Supplementing with iodine can help hair develop and stay healthy, since hair growth is affected greatly by thyroid hormone functions.
Can White Hair be Plucked?
When white hair appears sporadically, there are some who will pluck it out. It’s out of sight and out of mind. The new hair will be still white after it is removed. The hair follicles can also get damaged when hair is pulled out.
According the co-authored book “Dense, Thin, Black: Distinguished Doctors’ Hair Healing Power”, Dr. Zhang, and Dr. Peng Xianli, if you pluck white hair, the chances and speed of the new hair’s growth will be decreased. Additionally, the healthy hair follicles around the affected hair follicles may also be diminished. The result is that melanin production in hair may be reduced, which could cause hair to become whiter or deteriorate.