Having white hair is usually a sign of old age, but even young people may have white hair. The underlying causes that lead to the growth of white hair are varied. The fundamental reason for whitening of hair is that the root of the hair no longer produces melanin, which leads to a change in colour of hair, but the causes that provoke this may be categorised as related to genetics, vitamin deficiency, stress, thyroid problems, smoking and a few other factors such as certain diseases.
It is quite common to inherit a genetic trait from a parent that causes white hair. This genetic inheritance cannot be avoided, and it must be acknowledged that such a cause implies a permanent and unavoidable change in the colour of the hair. However, it is also true that this is not the only cause behind the growth of white hair, as mentioned earlier.
It may be a result of vitamin deficiency, specifically an insufficient amount of vitamin B12. In such a case it would be advisable to consume supplements that can help by increasing the intake of this particular vitamin.
Another cause of white hair may be traced to problems with the functioning of the thyroid gland (due to either excessive production or under production).
But a major cause of premature greying and whitening of hair is considered to be stress. It is argued that leading a stressful or unhealthy life or a hectic lifestyle can provoke the growth of white hair. Although hair experts are divided on the matter, reducing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are treated as methods of overcoming or at least controlling the growth of white hair.
There have also been certain studies that suggest a relationship between smoking and the growth of white hair. It is argued that heavy smokers are four times more likely to have grey or white hair in comparison to non-smokers.
Another cause of white hair is emotional trauma or shock. However, in such cases, the growth of white hair is a temporary phenomenon that stops occurring after a short period of time.
It is also important to note that in order to counter the growth of white hair, there are various remedies available in the market and at home too. Most people choose to colour their hair, or dye their hair black in order to hide the appearance of white hair. However, in such a scenario it is important to take the necessary precautions otherwise chemical dyes can adversely affect hair quality. If there is only a very limited amount of white hair growth then it is possible to remove such hair by plucking them out, which may be painful, but is otherwise a safe procedure.
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