what your white hair says about your shortcomings

With age, it is quite natural to have white or gray hair. This phenomenon called canities, which affects both men and women, is due to the lack of melanin production. However, the appearance of white hair can also be a sign of potential deficiencies or diseases affecting your health.

Written by Cecileon November 4, 2022, at 1:46 pm

“Getting gray hair” isn’t just for older people, so it’s quite possible to see how yours looks first white hair very young, for some in their twenties. The reason is simple: in the face of hair bleaching we are not all the same, because genetics are part of it.

At what age do you have your first white hair?

On average, canity, that is, the appearance of white or gray hair, begins around forty. It is therefore a natural process which we cannot escape and which is accentuated with advancing age. Faced with this observation, some reject fate and then try to disguise it with the help of coloring, others accept, preferring to take advantage of it. However we accept them, graying hair, or salt and pepper, they always end up appearing. Some, however, will have to deal with it much earlier than expected, due to inheritance.

Indeed, according to our family history, namely the appearance of the first white hairs among our family members, we will be gifted with it more or less quickly. Some see their hair partially bleached by the age of 20, or even earlier. When the others are protected until their fifties, or even later … Faced with genetics, we can do nothing. Stress is also likely to accentuate this phenomenon, as does psychological trauma.

What are the causes of white hair?

If inheritance is therefore what determines the age when our first white hair appears, why do they lose their natural color? Hair color depends on pigments, melanins, the same ones that determine the color of our skin. These pigments are produced by melanocytes, cells found at the base of the hair, inside the hair bulb. There are at least two types of melanins: eumelanins, which produce brown hair color, and pheomelanins, responsible for blonde to red hair colors.

Both eumelanins and pheomelanins are present in a single person in different proportions, which explains the wide variety of specific hair colors for each person. The amount of melanins and therefore the resulting color are determined in particular by our genes, but also by factors external to our environment. Over time, the proportions of these pigments vary slightly. Under the effect of the sun, the hair can thus lighten.

With the inevitable aging of the body, the cells that produce melanocytes become depleted. Those that still manage to work produce less and less melanin and gradually the hair is no longer pigmented and turns white. But the appearance of white hairwhich is therefore mainly physiological, it can also be pathological.

The appearance of white hair

Read also: I assume my gray hair styled with 3 natural tips

Deficiencies: which vitamins to fight white hair?

It is therefore possible that some deficiencies cause the appearance of white hair, or at least accentuate its appearance. In fact, a deficiency of vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin B9, selenium or even anemia can contribute to premature hair bleaching. Because the production of melanin is also linked to our diet.

For slow down the appearance of white hairsome good eating habits are to be adopted, tips that are equally good for health in general:

  • Consume enough fatty acids.
  • Get enough vitamin B12 into your diet.
  • Check your copper and zinc intake.
  • Monitor your iron intake.

Read also: Signs that show you are low on B12

What disease makes hair white?

In addition to potential deficiencies, white hair can also be due to a hormonal imbalance. Such a cause can then be triggered premature graying of hair, in addition to some autoimmune diseases such as vitiligo, a disease that also causes depigmentation of the epidermis. They can also lead to thyroid disease, premature aging syndromes, or even pernicious anemia early appearance of white hair and the acceleration of this phenomenon.

Which vitamins to fight gray hair?

Can we really get gray hair after an emotional shock?

As for whether it is possible to have white hair following an emotional shock, significant stress or traumatic shock can in fact lead to hair bleaching. Although the link is still somewhat unclear, Brazilian and American researchers discovered in 2020 why stress could lead to gray hair. After subjecting the dark-coated mice to significant stress, they turned completely white within a few weeks.

Why does hair turn white with stress?

Their article, published in the scientific journal Nature, tends to show that this change in coat color is due to “overactivation of sympathetic nerves, leading to the exhaustion of melanocyte stem cells”; which, let us remember, are responsible for the production of melanin and therefore for the color of our hair and our skin.

If this process, once started, were truly irreversible, it would therefore be a question of working on our stress management to prevent the premature appearance of white hair or the acceleration of its development. ” Preventive protection from stress currently appears to be the best way to combat the appearance of the ‘gray fleece’. “, The scientists point out.

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