Salt and pepper hair can add a certain power to your appearance as you age. But when kids have white and grey strands of hair on their head, it is a problem. If you notice one or two grey strands on your child’s head, it is fine, 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 your child. Therefore, the best way to combat is to get to the root of the problem and take preventive measures from early on.
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Causes of Premature White and Grey Hair in Kids
If you notice grey or white hair on your child’s head too often, most likely it will be because of a deficiency in his body. While there are many reasons for white hair in childhood, most can be treated and cured. A few of the most common causes of white hair in children are stated below.
The most common cause of premature greying of hair in children is genetics. Simply put, if the parents or grandparents had a similar problem of premature greying of hair in their childhood, the children will also be at a higher risk of this condition. Early-onset of greying hair can be passed on hereditarily and is a major reason for premature greying of hair in children. Some other conditions acquired hereditarily include progeria, Werner syndrome, Rothmund-Thompson syndrome, etc.
2. Medical Conditions
Premature greying of hair in children may indicate something more serious. Loss of pigmentation of hair is a symptom of several disorders, like vitiligo and piebaldism. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the colour of the skin and hair. When the melanocyte are unable to produce melanin in the skin, a person may suffer from vitiligo, which is characterized by white patches. Similarly, when the thyroid gland does not function properly, it results 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 suffer from tumours, hearing loss, and seizures with the loss of hair colour.
3. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
A deficiency of Vitamin B12 in the body can also result 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 developing this condition.
While not common, stress in children may also result in premature greying of their hair. However, here stress does not mean psychological stress. It is genotoxic stress, which is caused due to environmental factors.
5. Using Synthetic Soaps and Shampoos
We all know that the quality of hair products has degraded over the years. The hair care products we use today are not what they used to be some ten to fifteen years ago. The synthetic soaps and shampoos that children use today can make their hair rough and even cause greying of hair. As a parent, you must take care from early on, as adult shampoo can make a child’s hair rough and frizzy. You must use baby shampoo for your child, as it contains extracts of vitamins and minerals in it. You can also opt for herbal shampoos to wash your baby’s hair.
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6. Exposure to Smoke
If a child is always exposed to smoke, it can result in premature greying of hair too. Passive smoking can also cause oxidative stress in your child’s body, and lower the production of melanin. Therefore, smoking near children should be avoided to prevent this from happening.
7. Eating Unhealthy Foods
With the fast-food culture in place, it is no wonder that premature greying is becoming more common in the modern world. Menkes hair syndrome and Kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition) can also cause premature greying of hair.
Iron deficiency can result in anaemia, which results in fatigue and whitening of the hair in children. Pernicious anaemia can also cause premature greying of hair in children.
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Treatment for Premature White and Grey Hair in Children
There is no treatment or medication as such that will help treat premature greying of hair in children. The only treatment for greying of hair is eating nutritious foods. You should make sure that your child eats healthy foods. In most cases, the condition occurs as a result of improper nutrition. The deficiency of Vitamin B12 and minerals like copper and zinc in the body can also result in greying of hair but this can 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. If greying of hair is a result of other conditions or syndromes, get those conditions treated, and premature greying of hair will reduce considerably.
Nutrients That Can Help Prevent Premature Greying of Hair
By including healthy foods in your child ‘s diet, you can prevent his hair from greying. Whatever you plan to feed your child, make sure it is packed with essential nutrients. Some important vitamins and minerals that prevent and stop premature greying are given below.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in green vegetables and yellow fruits. This vitamin helps improve the health of the scalp and hair in general. It also ensures that the hair stays lustrous.
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B 12 is vital for healthy hair. Vitamin B keeps the secretion of oil in control and 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 for healthy hair. These minerals will help retain the quality of your child’s hair and lower premature greying of hair. Zinc is found in green vegetables, chicken and red meat, while the mineral iron is found in eggs, dried apricots, wheat, parsley, and sunflower seeds. To meet his copper requirements, include whole grain foods or seafood in his diet. All these minerals, if provided in adequate quantities, can prevent premature greying of hair.
Protein maintains the shine of hair and improves its texture. Whole grains, soy, cereals, and meat are important sources of protein. So, add these protein-rich foods in your child’s diet.
Home Remedies for Grey Hair
Greying of hair in children can be tackled with natural remedies. 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 can play a huge role in remedying the grey hair. Applying coconut oil on scalp preserves the pigment cells in hair follicles, which give the hair its natural colour. Coconut oil also moisturises the scalp and improves the strength of hair. For this remedy, boil amla and coconut oil together and massage your child’s scalp with it.
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 child’s scalp with this mixture for best results.
3. Curry Leaves and Coconut Oil
Curry leaves are also known to reverse the process of greying of hair. Curry leaves can help boost the production of melanin, which gives the hair its natural colour. For this remedy, boil the leaves in coconut oil till they turn black. Then apply the oil on your child’s hair to prevent premature whitening of hair.
4. Ghee (Cow’s Milk)
Ghee is packed with enzymes that retain the shine of the hair and also strengthen the roots to a great extent. Apply ghee twice a week, and leave it on for an hour for best results.
5. Almond Oil and Sesame Seeds
Blend almond oil and sesame seeds in a blender and apply this mixture on your child’s scalp and massage for about 20 minutes. Let it sit for another 20 minutes and wash it off with a herbal shampoo and lukewarm water.
These home remedies are extremely effective but do not take any chances. Try these remedies once you have your doctor’s approval.
Stated below are a few precautionary tips that you should follow if your child has grey hair.
- 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 make sure your child doesn’t spend too much time basking in the sun.
- 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. He should consume it in moderation – too much or too less of it can affect the thyroid gland and result in premature greying of hair.
Premature greying affects many children. However, it can easily be controlled using home remedies and controlling the diet of your child. So, try these home remedies after consulting with a doctor.
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