Wondering Why?

Why Does Hair Turn White?

Why Does Hair Turn White?

The color of the hair is due to the pigment present in hair follicles. The melanin pigment present in hair follicle cells is of two types. They are eumelanin and pheomelanin. If the pigment strength is more, the hair looks darker and if the pigment is less the hair appears in light color. The white or grey hair is due to the absence of the melanin pigment. As our age advances our hair changes from dark to white naturally. Some people develop white hair even at young age. This may happen due to the deficiency in thyroid or vitamin B12.

The hair follicles consist of pigment cells. The hair gets converted into white or grey as we become older. This will be due to the cells present at the base of the hair shaft failing to produce the pigment called melanin. The melanin pigment gives the color that is characteristic of the hair shaft like black, blonde, red, or brown. The content of melanin that is synthesized in the cells determines the color of the hair shaft whether it is dark or it is light.

As we age, the cells containing the pigment eventually die. As the melanin synthesis weakens, the hair shaft also starts diminishing its color. The hair starts turning to white as it keeps growing. When all the pigment cells die, the hair will turn white permanently. The stage of turning of dark hair to white will be decided by the genes. If there is no vitamin deficiency or any other problem then white hair results at a certain age characteristic to the individual based on his genetic inheritance.

The other factors that can cause graying of hair are B vitamins especially pantothenic acid, improper nutrition, reduction of iron in blood and smoking might lead to formation of white hairs. Many people start getting their hair white at the age in which their parents or grandparents got their hair turned white.


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