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Salt and pepper hair adds a certain power to your appearance as you age. However, if you notice grey strands of hair on your child’s head, you will be worried. One or two grey strands are common, but if the grey area is more, you need to pay attention.
Premature greying does not have any ill effects in terms of the health of the child, but greying of hair may indicate some other problems in the body. It can also have a psychological effect on the child, as a child with grey hair would stand out from the crowd wherever he goes. Therefore, the best way to combat is to get to the root of the cause and try to prevent hair from greying.
Causes of Premature White and Grey Hair in Kids
When grey or white hair become prominent on the head of a child, it may indicate a problem in a child’s body. While there are many reasons for white hair in childhood, most can be treated and cured. A few of the most common causes are given here.
The most common reason due to which premature greying takes place in children is their genetic makeup. Simply put, if the parents or grandparents have a similar problem of premature greying, the children are also at a higher risk of a similar condition. Early onset of greying hair can be passed on hereditarily and is a major reason for premature greying in children.
2. Medical Conditions
Premature greying of hair in children may indicate to something more serious. Loss of pigmentation of hair is a symptom of many disorders. Some of these disorders are neurofibromatosis, vitiligo, Waardenburg syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the colour of the skin and hair, and Vitiligo is characterized by disruptions in the ability of the skin to produce melanin. Similarly, the thyroid gland may not function properly, resulting in an overactive or underactive condition. This condition occurs in different diseases like Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease, and also results in premature greying of the hair. However, it is not the only symptom in these cases; the child may also get tumours, hearing loss, and seizures with the loss of hair colour.
3. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
After extensive research, it was found that the deficiency of vitamin B12 in the body often results in the premature greying of hair in children. Vitamin B12 is not found in enough quantities in a vegetarian diet, so children following a vegetarian diet are at a higher risk of contracting the condition. Another cause of vitamin deficiency is surgery which interferes with the normal functioning of the digestive system. As the stomach fails to absorb adequate amounts of the vitamin, it results in premature greying of hair. In these cases, simply supplementing the food with vitamin tablets is enough to stop hair from greying.
While not common, stress in children may also result in premature greying of the hair. However, this does not mean psychological stress; genotoxic stress, which is caused due to factors in the environment may also cause white and grey hair in children. For example, high exposure to ultraviolet light or radiation may result in greying of hair.
5. Synthetic Soaps and Shampoos
There is no doubt that the quality of hair products has degraded over the years. The oilS and herbs that our grandparents used were of superior quality. However, the synthetic soaps and shampoos that children use today, make the hair rough and also cause greying of hair. Care must be taken in the early stages of childhood, as adult shampoos can make a child’s hair rough and frizzy. A baby shampoo is the best option, as it contains extracts of vitamins and minerals in it. You can also opt for herbal shampoos to wash your baby’s hair.
6. Exposure to Smoke
If a child is always exposed to smoke, it can directly result in premature greying of hair. Passive smoking causes oxidative stress in your child’s body, and this reduces the production of melanin. Therefore, smoking near children should be avoided to prevent this from happening.
7. Certain Foods
With the fast food culture in place, it is no wonder that premature greying is becoming more common in the modern world. Consumption of high amounts of carbohydrates and sugar can hamper the ability of the body to produce melanin, resulting in this condition. This means that excessive consumption of soda, chocolates, candies, and other sugary foods must be kept at a level.
Iron deficiency can result in anaemia, which results in fatigue and whitening of the hair in children.
This results in the reduction of melanin in a child’s body, which can make his hair grey.
Treatment for Premature White and Grey Hair in Children
The treatment for greying of hair mainly consists of improving the diet and increasing the nutritional value of the food that a child consumes. In most cases, the condition occurs as a result of improper nutrition. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies also result in greying of the hair, and this needs to be controlled by means of vitamin supplements or by giving children healthy food. If the child is genetically inclined towards premature greying, you must pay attention. You should also make sure that nobody should smoke near children. If greying of hair is a result of other conditions or syndromes, treat those conditions, and premature greying of hair will reduce.
Nutrients to Stop Premature Greying of the Hair
Improving your child’s diet can go a long way to stop premature greying and whitening of hair at an early age. So, whatever you feed your child, make sure it is packed with nutrients. Some important vitamins and minerals that help reduce the condition of premature greying are given below.
1. Vitamin A
Found in green vegetables and yellow fruits, this helps improve the health of your child’s scalp and hair in general. It keeps the hair shiny and healthy. Vitamin A also improves the eyesight.
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is important for healthy hair. Vitamin B keeps the secretion of oil in control and thus keeps the hair healthy and soft for long. Vitamin B is found in yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cauliflowers, and bananas. So make sure you include these foods in your child’s diet.
Iron, zinc, and copper are the most important minerals which help your child retain the quality of hair and reduce premature greying. Zinc is found in green vegetables, chicken and red meat, while iron is found in eggs, dried apricots, wheat, parsley, and sunflower seeds in adequate quantities. Copper levels in the body can be retained by consuming whole grains or seafood, and all of these help your child reduce or prevent premature greying of hair.
Protein plays a huge role in keeping hair shiny, while also improving its texture. Whole grains, soy, cereals, and meat are important sources of protein. So, don’t hesitate in adding these protein-rich foods in your child’s diet.
Greying of hair in children can be tackled and reduced by simply using remedies available at home. Here are a few things you can try at home if you are wondering how to stop premature greying of hair in children.
1. Amla and Coconut oil
Amla has Vitamin C and antioxidants, which play a huge role in reducing greying of hair. Coconut oil moisturizes the scalp and improves the strength of hair. All you have to do is, boil amla and oil together, and massage thoroughly on the scalp.
2. Amla Juice and Almond Oil
Almond oil also contains Vitamin E, which is another nutrient that plays a key role in keeping the hair healthy. It also reverses the process of premature greying of hair. Mix almond oil and amla juice in equal amounts and massage your scalp with this mixture for best results.
3. Curry Leaves and Coconut Oil
Curry leaves have been traditionally used to restore the black colour of hair. Boil the leaves in coconut oil till they turn black. Then apply in on your hair to prevent premature whitening of hair.
4. Butter (Cow’s Milk)
Butter is packed with enzymes that retain the shine of the hair and also strengthen the roots to a great extent. Apply butter twice a week, and let it stay in your hair for an hour for best results.
5. Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice
Regularly massage your hair with a mixture of lemon juice and coconut oil. This will strengthen your hair and prevent premature greying.
6. Almond Oil and Sesame Seeds
Blend almond oil and sesame seeds in a blender and apply this mixture on the scalp and massage for 20 minutes. Let it sit for another 20 minutes and wash it off with a herbal shampoo and lukewarm water.
7. Lemon Juice and Amla Powder
Mix 4 tsp of amla powder in 2 tsp of water and lemon juice and set it aside for an hour. Apply the paste to your scalp and wait for 25 minutes before washing it with water. Refrain from use shampoo or soap on the hair immediately after.
8. Sesame Oil and Orange Seeds Essential Oil
Mix 4 tsp of sesame oil and half a tsp of carrot seed essential oil in a dark-coloured glass bottle. Shake this well and apply the oil to the scalp and the roots. Rinse with a shampoo and conditioner after 30 minutes.
9. Henna and Fenugreek Seed Powder
Take 2 tbsp of henna, 1 tbsp of fenugreek seed powder, curd, coffee powder and 2 tbsp Tulsi leaves juice and 2 tbsp mint leaves juice in a bowl and make a fine paste. Apply this paste on the hair and let it sit for 2 hours. Later, wash your hair with an aloe vera shampoo.
10. Yoghurt and Yeast
To prevent premature greying of hair, eating a bowl of yoghurt mixed with one tablespoon of yeast is also recommended. However, you should not give yeast to kids under 2 years of age. Also, consult a paediatrician before you opt for this home remedy to treat premature greying of hair in your child.
These home remedies are extremely effective but do not take any chances. Try these remedies once you have your doctor’s approval.
Few Precautions and Tips
Here are a few tips to follow if you notice premature greying in your kids.
- Do not wash your child’s hair with hot water. Hot water can destroy melanocytes, which assist in the production of melanin.
- Another cause of premature greying is overexposure to UV Rays, so excessive sun basking must also be kept in check.
- If you notice any grey or white strand of hair on your child’s scalp, do not pluck it.
- Ensure that your child’s iodine intake is adequate. Not less and not too much, as it can affect the thyroid gland, and accelerate premature greying of hair.
Premature greying affects many children. However, it can easily be reduced using home remedies and controlling the diet of a child. So, try these home remedies after consulting with a doctor.
Also Read: Hair Loss in Children