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Hair Color Loss
January 2003

Q. My son is only 21 months old and I have noticed he has grey hair in the last several months. He is not albino, he is Caucasian and Chinese, but looks very Caucasian with medium brown hair. What could be some possible causes?

A. Loss of color in the hair of a young child is not at all common and further evaluation is needed. Normal hair color is produced from a substance called melanin which is made by the hair follicle. Everyone is familiar with the loss of pigment that occurs with aging as the hair follicle loses this ability.

The loss of pigment is genetically determined and the age at which it occurs can vary widely. The loss of pigment in a child could be a form of vitiligo which can cause loss of pigment in the skin as well. This can be associated with internal problems such as conditions affecting the thyroid or adrenal glands. Your pediatrician can advise you as to further evaluation in your child.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004005.htm

http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/vitiligo/vitiligo.htm

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