Should You Worry If Your Child Has Grey Hair?
Grey hair is a condition more often than not associated with old age. So, it would come as a shock to any parent to see their school going child develop a few grey hairs. Premature greying can be an unpleasant experience for both the child and the parent. As you explore hair treatment options for your child, let’s look at what causes premature greying in children.
How does hair turn grey?
Hair follicles contain cells called melanocytes which produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives your hair strands their colour. As we age, the melanocytes begin to die away and stop producing their pigment. This change turns hair colourless or grey.
There is no hair treatment that can reverse the process of greying. Focus lies on understanding the specific cause and arresting the development of further grey hairs.
What are causes of premature greying in children?
While there are many probable causes of grey hair in children, here are the most common ones.
- Genetic factors
Genetics play a huge role in determining how soon one goes grey or develops related hair and autoimmune conditions including thyroid problems. Studies have shown that parents of children with grey hair, have themselves experienced premature greying of a certain degree. Moreover, certain races of people, such as Caucasians, are more prone to premature greying than others.
- Vitamin deficiency
Research has established a defined link between a deficiency of vitamin B12 and premature greying. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products including milk, poultry, red meat,and eggs. Vegetarians normally face a deficiency of vitamin B12 as it does not exist naturally in any plant based diet plan. Those who follow a vegetarian or a vegan diet can include breakfast cereal, soya, and nutritional yeast to overcome this deficiency.
- Excessive stress
Very little evidence supports stress as a primary cause of premature greying in children. However, it is widely acknowledged that high stress levels can speed up the process of greying. Now more than ever, children are subject to high levels of stress from school, exposure to media and the pressure to succeed. When we are highly stressed, thyroid problems tend to surface and the hair is one of the first parts of our body to show physical symptoms. Stress can accelerate premature greying in children who are already susceptible to the condition due to genetic factors or diet deficiencies.
- Cellular diseases
Cellular disorders such as vitiligo and tuberous sclerosis are known to slow down the body’s capacity to produce hair pigment. These disorders are hereditary and are often accompanied by severe hair loss and seizures and need serious medical attention. Many parents prefer homeopathic treatment for vitiligo to handle this skin condition in children.Some studies have also shown that thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can contribute to early greying.
How to best handle the situation?
Premature greying can be a tough time for you as a parent. Handling questions from your child while managing the situation is hard. The most important thing is to be supportive of your child, as he / she may face a certain level of rejection or jokes from friends about the situation. If the situation at school seems to get out of hand or your child is upset all the time, don’t hesitate to ask for a parent-teacher meeting.
Never pluck out the grey hair. Plucking will not lead to more grey hair growth but it will worsen your child’s self-esteem issues. Before considering using a hair dye, understand, and tackle the underlying causes of premature greying. Help your child understand that it is alright to be different.
Greying is an irreversible process. However, steps can be taken to prevent new grey hairs from developing. The first step would be to correctly identify the cause of premature greying in your child. If you can rule out genetic causes, then the issue might be diet. Make sure your child eats a diet rich in iron, protein, and vitamin B12. This will include foods like green leafy vegetables, iron fortified cereals, beans, raisins, walnuts, eggs, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
If your child does suffer from skin disorders such as vitiligo, you will need to take professional help. Like most parents, you might be concerned about the long-term side effects of conventional medication. In such cases, homeopathy offers gentle and holistic healing that is free of chemicals and side effects. Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo in children is safe and focuses on preventing the patches from spreading further. The same goes for thyroid problems. Do consult with a homeopathic doctor near you to explore the best options for complete and long lasting recovery.