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Q: Grey Hair in Children ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Grey Hair in Children
Category: Health > Children
Asked by: sid60-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 04 Jan 2005 04:15 PST
Expires: 03 Feb 2005 04:15 PST
Question ID: 451568
Reasons for and treatment of grey hair in children 8 - 12 years old?
Subject: Re: Grey Hair in Children
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 08 Jan 2005 20:41 PST
Hello sid60,

   Gray hair in childhood is known as ?Premature graying? or canities.
Premature graying in children is usually genetically programmed -- If
the parents or grandparents had premature graying, the children may
follow suit.

?The time and speed of gray hair onset is due in part to genetics, and
early onset gray hair development can run in families. Very
occasionally, a few gray hairs can develop in children as young as 8
years and yet it indicates nothing other than an early onset of the
gray hair that we all develop with increasing age. Typical gray hair
first develops at age 34.2 +/- 9.6 years in Caucasians while for Black
people the average age of onset is 43.9 +/-10.3 years?

?There are many instances where a systemic disease can indirectly
affect hair color. The mechanisms by which hair color changes occur in
such diseases has not been investigated in any detail although various
suggestions have been made.?

?Certain drugs, herbs and supplements -- including vitamin E and
echinacea -- are also known to cause graying. In addition, smoking has
been linked to early graying. A study published in the December 21,
1996, issue of the British Medical Journal suggested a connection
between smoking and gray hair (as well as between smoking and male
baldness). The researchers were not, however, able to determine a
direct cause-and-effect relationship.?

Smoke, even second hand smoke, has been linked to premature gray hair.

?Sometimes children grow single gray hairs at age 8.  Premature gray
for Caucasians is defined as gray onset before age 20 in Caucasians,
before age 25 in Asians, and before age 30 in blacks. Some diseases
cause prematurely gray hair, such as  pernicious anemia,
hyper/hypo-thyroidism, osteopenia, progeria and pangeria, and
prematurely gray hair can be caused by ..... cigarette smoking!?

?Alice, What are the reasons for getting white hair in teenagers? 
Nothing turns hair white but the gradual decrease of pigmentation that
occurs with age. Contrary to what you may have heard, special diets,
nutritional supplements, certain vitamins, and protein will not affect
the graying process. Graying, whether it comes with the normal process
of aging or prematurely, has a genetic basis. Hair turns gray or white
when a pigment (melanin) ceases to be produced in the hair root, and
new hairs grow in gray or white. If you're a smoker, take note: a 1996
British Medical Journal study conducted by J.G. Mosley, MD found that
smoking may cause premature graying. When compared to nonsmokers in
the study, smokers were at a four times higher risk of graying

Children with deficient immune systems (HIV, AIDS, leukemia,receiving
chemotherapy, radiation and more), protein deficiency, altered hormone
levels, and CAD (coronary artery disease) can cause premature gray

Werner?s syndrome (However, patients don?t usually get gray as
children, but as young adults), Bk's syndrome, Cri du Chat syndrome,
neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis can all cause gray hair in
children, as well as genetic syndromes that causes premature gray

One common cause of gray hair in children is  B12 deficiency. ?Dietary
deficiency is difficult to achieve, unless a person is eating a strict
vegan diet. Breast-fed infants whose mothers have B12 deficiency can
also develop a transient deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12 can occur
even in the face of adequate B12 intake. The body's ability to absorb
and use B12 can be hampered by surgery involving the stomach or small
bowel, diseases affecting the small bowel (e.g. regional enteritis,
necrotizing enterocolitis, tuberculosis, diverticulosis, or fish
tapeworms), or a congenital lack of the molecules needed to absorb B12
(intrinsic factor or Transcobalamin I, II, or III). A simple blood
test can diagnose current vitamin B12 deficiency.?

?Several thyroid disorders, particularly hyperthyroidism, reduce
melanocyte activity while they are present. Disorders of skin
pigmentation, such as vitiligo (which follows the destruction of
melanocytes in the skin), can also result in a loss of hair
pigmentation. A rare entity called Vogt-Koyanagi syndrome occurs in
some children following a viral illness. In an attempt to fight the
virus, the body makes antibodies that, unfortunately, also attack the

Interestingly, one study shows premature gray hair has been linked to
dyslexia. ? What mechanism might be involved is entirely unknown, but
hair follicles are responsive to neuroendocrine peptides produced by
nerve cells and hair follicles are intimately enmeshed in a complex
nerve cell network. Perhaps dyslexia is associated with a reduced
ability of nerve cells to produce certain stimulatory products that
may also affect hair follicle activity??

   Werner?s syndrome:
?Characteristics of the syndrome include: Short stature, having thin
extremities and a stocky trunk. The nose is beaked. Graying and
balding of the hair may occur when the person is still in their
twenties. Patches of stiff skin called scleroderma may appear upon
examination. Hypogonadism, which occurs in both sexes is almost always
present. Mild diabetes called diabetes mellitus is often present.
Malignant tumors occur in about ten percent of those infected with
Werner?s syndrome.?

   Bk's syndrome:
?The features are premolar aplasia, hyperhidrosis, and premature
graying of hair. Inheritance is clearly autosomal dominant with high
penetrance. Only one other patient was described, likely to present
the same syndrome, but with additional features : narrow palate,
hypoplastic nails, disorganized eyebrows, unilateral simian crease,
and poorly formed dermatoglyphs. It is suggested that the lack of
other reports of Book syndrome may result from the clinical features
being of relatively little consequence to most affected individuals or
from symptoms being treated as separate entities by different
specialists. * Author: Dr E. Robert-Gnansia (October 2004)?

   Cri-du-chat syndrome:
?Childhood: Findings include severe mental retardation; developmental
delay; microcephaly; hypertonicity; premature graying of the hair;
small, narrow, and often asymmetric face; dropped-jaw, open-mouth
expression secondary to facial laxity; short philtrum; malocclusion of
the teeth; scoliosis; short third-fifth metacarpals; and chronic
medical problems such as upper respiratory tract infections, otitis
media, severe constipation, and hyperactivity.?

   Protein Deficiency:
?The only disease that I am aware would cause graying of hair at such
a young age is the illness called kwashiorkor, which is due to a
deficiency of protein in the diet.

It is most commonly recorded in African countries where the protein
content of the diet of poorer people is often very low and it is
children who are most affected because their need for protein is
relatively high due to their growth. Besides wasting of the muscles,
skin problems, mouth ulcers, lack of appetite, diarrhea and anemia,
the affected children gets markedly underweight.

The hair changes of kwashiorkor, which is loss of pigmentation
associated with the hair becoming fine, sparse and straight, is
usually noted in scalp hair.?

   Fungal Infection:
Tinea amiantacea is a dermatophyte, a skin and scalp fungal infection.
?A five year-old female orphan, living in an SOS Village, had been
treated unsuccessfully for tinea amiantacea with tars and salicilic
acid shampoos for two years. She presented with powdery grey hair and
large adherent scales surrounding the hair shafts without alopecia
(Fig. 1). Wood's lamp examination revealed a yellow fluorescence. She
had no skin lesions and was a healthy child. Scales and altered hairs
were collected.?

   Chediak-Higashi syndrome: 
"Chediak-Higashi is a rare childhood autosomal recessive disorder
characterized by immune deficiency; partial oculocutaneous albinism;
easy bruisability and bleeding as a result of deficient platelet dense
bodies; recurrent infections with neutropenia, impaired chemotaxis,
and bactericidal activity; and abnormal natural killer (NK) cell

   Griscelli disease:
?Griscelli's disease is a rare autosomal recessive immunodeficiency syndrome.?,10,22;journal,31,105;linkingpublicationresults,1:100483,1

?The infants had silvery-grey hair and pigment clumps on the hair shafts?

No connection has been found between diabetes and gray hair.? My 10
year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about six months ago,
and since then I have see a significant amount of gray hair show up on
him. Is there are direct correlation between diabetes and premature
gray hair?
Answer:  I'm unaware of any correlation between gray hair and diabetes.?


It?s very important to consult with a pediatrician to rule out
infection or systemic causes of a child?s gray hair. S/he will take a
family history and can order diagnostic testing to get to the root of
this problem. (No pun intended)

Because some hair dyes have been linked to cancer, if dye is used, be
sure to use  vegetable dye or henna. Test for allergic reaction first,
by applying a tiny amount of the prepared product on a patch of skin,
such as the inside of the elbow. Leave on for as long as the
directions would have you apply it to the head, but check for a
reaction. Wash off and observe the skin for several days. Tunisian
Henna is NOT a vegetable dye and should be avoided.

   Herbal Hair Color

These shampoos impart color onto the hair that lasts three days.

Hope this has helped you! If any part of my answer is unclear, please
request an Answer Clarification, before rating. This will enable me to
assist you further, if possible,


Search Terms
premature gray hair + children
juvenile gray hair
causes of gray hair + children
Subject: Re: Grey Hair in Children
From: david1977-ga on 08 Jan 2005 19:05 PST
I couldn't really find to much on this topic. Depending on how bad it
is you may just consider dying the hair. I was actually born with a
few grey hairs and my doctor never stressed over it.

Only thing I could find and it isnt to relavent.
Subject: Re: Grey Hair in Children
From: nbridley-ga on 09 Jan 2005 23:11 PST

Have you checked: and find out more
about hair colour loss and its causes.

hope that helps.

N Bridley
Subject: Re: Grey Hair in Children
From: crabcakes-ga on 10 Jan 2005 08:57 PST

Please view the web site that N. Bridley recommends in his comment
with caution. I could find no legitimate organization called Hair Loss
Research Foundation, not to be confused with is seemingly trying to confuse customers. By the
way, Mr. Bridley is supposedly a network administrator for the hair
product marketing site.

Legitimate buisnesses do not spam other websites, touting their wares.
I would be also be wary  websites that have poor spelling and grammar,
which is not reflective of a professional organization.

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