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White Hair Turning Yellow May Signal Disease

White Hair Turning Yellow May Signal Disease

There are a lot of reasons why white, silver or grey hair may turn yellow.  The hair color change may be as innocent as the development of an age-related pigment or it can have serious indications.  In some cases when white or similarly colored hair turns yellow it can mean you have dermatomyositis.

This is a relativity uncommon inflammatory disease which can cause a distinctive skin rash and muscle weakness. It is considered to be an autoimmune disease.

Dermatomyositis is more common in women than men.  Even though is it not a common disease, when symptoms hit, it's important to address the issues.  The disease can appear suddenly or it can develop gradually over a period of several weeks or months.

Hair Turning Yellow As Disease Indicator

Although the hair turning yellow may be a first indicator of the disease, usually the skin rash is the first major symptom followed by the muscle weakness.  Sometimes the rash is the only symptom and sometimes a rash and muscle weakness can occur at the same time.  Each person is different in how the disease impacts their body.

The skin rash that is associated with dermatomyositis is violet or a dusky red.  It most commonly occurs on the chest, back, face and eyelids.  It can also occur around the nails, knuckles, elbows and knees.  Sometimes it's patchy and may have a blue-purple discoloration somewhat like a bruise.

Muscle weakness, when it occurs, is often symmetric appearing on both sides of the body. The weakness generally affects the neck, shoulders, upper arms, hips and thighs. It is progressive, meaning it worsens over time. Although pain is mild, it may be experienced by up to half of all sufferers.

Treatment Options

The first line of treatment is oral corticosteroids. Often high doses are given and tapered down to a lower maintenance dose. Improvement is commonly experienced within two to four weeks, but therapy may be necessary for years. Occasionally, topical steroids may be used.

Physical and speech therapy can help by encouraging regaining muscle strength, assisting with swallowing, movement and more. Surgery to remove painful calcium deposits may also be recommended.

Other Causes Of White Hair Turning Yellow

Of course white, gray or silver hair can also turn yellow due to other harmless reasons such as:

1.  Age-related pigment changes.

2. Chemicals from home water supply, swimming pools or environmental toxins and/or pollutants.

Note: White, silver or grey hair doesn't contain any of the pigments which deposits color in younger strands.  As a result, white, silver or gray hair tends to more easily show colors deposited by foreign materials such as copper tinged water, well water or chemicals from swimming pools or the shower.

3.  Residues from shampoo, conditioners or other product build-up.

4.  Smoking may cause white, gray or silver hair to turn yellow.

5.  Prescription drug reactions.  In some cases some prescription drugs may cause hair to become discolored.

6.  Review your nutritional program since high concentrations of sulfur may have an impact.

Unfortunately there may be no easy way to prevent hair from yellowing except in the case of smoking or exposure to certain water chemicals.  Hair which is very porous may take on a deeper discoloration than hair which is not as porous.

Options For Dealing With Yellowing Hair

Consider the following options for dealing with yellowing hair:

1.  Use Blue Color Based Hair Care Products

Opt for using shampoo and related hair care products (rinse out or leave-in conditioners) with a blue or violet color base which are known to instantly brighten white, silver and gray strands.  They are also known to help balance brassiness in colored tresses.

The danger with using a blue or violet based product is that if the ends of your hair are more porous then the roots you may have blue hue build-up along the ends.  If that's the case, only apply a blue based shampoo to the roots or middle sections of your hair and not to the ends.

2.  Temporary color rinse

It's possible you can also correct the problem by using a temporary hair color rinse which will subtly neutralize the yellow tones and restore your hair to a clear silver, gray or white tone.

When in doubt discuss your product options with your professional hairstylist so they can advise you of the proper products, check the porosity of your hair and offer other suggestions for neutralizing the stains.  A professional haircolorist or stylist can help with yellow color issues including doing a soap cap.

Note: A soap cap usually involves a mix of 1 ounce of shampoo mixed together with 3% hydrogen peroxide to form suds.  A soap cap is allowed to sit on damp hair for up to 5 minutes and then rinsed out.  The low peroxide volume will gently "strip" residues from the hair without changing the base color.  There may be a small amount of overall fading.   This should not be done a home, but only by a professional hairstylists or colorist.

3.  Install a water filter

If you suspect the problem with the yellow hues is related to well water or water which is heavily chlorinated, consider installing a water filter to remove chemicals which may be staining your hair.

4.  Clarify hair appropriately

You can also try to cleanse yellow stained hair with a clarifying formula which will remove smoke, hair product build-up or similar issues which also may be causing the yellow hue.  Although clarifying formulas can be a great solution for some, if used more than once a month or so, they can cause hair to become dry and crunchy.

5.  Keep hair covered when possible

To eliminate environmental toxins keep hair covered in the sun, wind or rain.   Whenever you swim wear a cap if possible.  If not, then rinse dry hair with filtered water before entering the pool.  Upon leaving the pool rinse hair again with filtered water or similar and head to the showers as soon as possible.

6.  Use leave-in conditioner as natural barrier

If you don't smoke but find yourself in a smoky environment on a regular basis, be sure to always use a leave-in conditioner on your strands which provide a natural barrier to smoke.

More Information

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