Baby Born with White Hair-Causes & Treatment

Every year, many children are born and each of them is unique. Some babies are born with disorders which may cause abnormalities in their body features. For instance, there are babies who are born with white hair. A baby may have all the hair white or some may be born with patches of white hair. Read on to find out more

Baby born with all white hair-Causes

Doctors are still carrying out research on the cause of all white hair on a baby. The cause that they have so far discovered is partial or absolute lack of melanin. This is the pigment that gives your hair coloration, skin color and eye color.

baby born with white hair
White hair on baby

Most researchers and doctors suspect that a baby born with white hair may have albinism. This is a genetic disorder that comes as a result of inadequate melanin production. Doctors define it as a congenital disorder (inborn) which hinders the human body from melanin creation. About 5 people in every 100000 people are born with this condition.

However, there is no certainty that albinism is the actual cause of white hair in babies. This is because, for albinism, there is even inadequacy of melanin all over the body making the skin pigmentation to also be different from that of normal people. Some babies have normal skin pigmentation yet their hair is white. That means the baby has insufficient melanin only in the scalp.

Other possible causes of white hair in newborns that are still undergoing research include; vitamin deficiency and stress or anxiety. When a mother is pregnant and gets stressed or anxious, that stress is passed to the baby and may result to disorders and complications such as inadequate melanin on skin.

As well, when you fail to eat a balanced diet when pregnant, the baby becomes deficient of crucial vitamins and may end up with serious health complications. These two causes are however just suspected and are yet to be confirmed.

A baby born with a patch of white hair

Another rare condition is where a baby is born with a white streak on the hair. In such a case, the baby has only a section of her body and more specifically the scalp, lacking adequate melanin levels. Below are some of the causes of partial pigmentation loss of the hair;

Genetic traits

Sometimes, this condition is simply inherited from your family. When the cause is hereditary traits, several people in the family including the mother of the child have the white hair streak. The white hair streak appears isolated and it is a pride to some families as it makes them unique.

Poliosis

After several attempts to discover what exactly caused the white streak, doctors came up with the name for the condition. They called it Poliosis. When you are born with a white patch on your hair, the first condition that doctors will look out for is poliosis. The doctors defined it as a condition where you have small patches of hair on the body having insufficient melanin pigment. It may affect the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

What does it mean?

Having white hair may mean a number of things;

Albinism

This is the first condition you may want to consider if your baby has white hair. Doctors carry out tests on babies born with white hair to ascertain that they do not have albinism. When the albinism test is positive, you will notice that your skin pigmentation is also not normal. In most cases however, if only your hair has a white pigmentation with the rest of your skin being normal, you do not have albinism.

Low melanin levels

Most babies who are born with white hair are found to have low melanin levels in their blood. If the baby has a strange pigmentation only on the hair, it means that the melanin levels on the scalp are very low. Where the baby has just a patch of white hair, it means that the baby has low melanin levels on that part of the scalp.

Hereditary traits

In some cases, white hair indicates a family trait.  Where the white hair is a trend in the family, then the condition is genetic.[1] In such a case, the family is said to have the condition poliosis.

Examples of babies born with white hair

Among the baby’s born with white hair is Bence and MilliAnna. While baby Bence was with all white hair on the head, MilliAnna was born with a white patch on the front part of her head. Below are details about the two babies.

Bence

Bence was born through a normal birth process with no complications at all. Everything about the baby was normal and that confirmed the baby was healthy. The only uncommon thing was that the baby had white hair and this left both the parents and doctors surprised.

bence-white-grey baby
bence

To confirm that the white hair was not an indication of the baby’s abnormality, the doctors carried out a test on the vitals of the baby. Luckily, the tests confirmed that the health of the baby was perfect. At first, the doctors thought that the baby might have had the congenital disorder, albinism.

However, this was nullified by the fact that the baby’s other skin was entirely healthy with the right pigmentation.

The doctors carried out more tests; this time focusing on the melanin levels. The tests confirmed that although Bence did not have albinism, his blood had low levels of melanin.

The doctor in charge was Dr. Zoltan Kummer and he ensured that all tests confirming the baby had no albinism were correctly done.

A low melanin level in blood was something similar with the test results for albinism. Bence was even that far from albinism since only his hair was missing the color pigment and not the skin.  It was the low melanin levels, therefore, that were responsible for Bence’s white hair.

More speculations indicated that other factors that could have contributed to Bence’s white hair were stress or any other illness yet to be discovered.

Bence’s diagnosis on the reasons for the white hair took quite a long time and hence he stayed so long in the hospital. The baby, having unique hair and having very good looks as well earned himself a name, ‘prince charming’.

Dr .Kummer explained to the parents that, since there was no correlation between Bence’s blood and albinism, Bence hair would probably acquire the color pigment with time. The parents were discouraged by many people on social media who felt that the albinism was under diagnosed.

Nevertheless, the parents paid attention to the doctors who were confident that Bence condition was unique. They explained that albinism was not the only reason for white hair and that there were other causes such as genetics, vitamin deficiency and mutant hair cells.

MilliAnna

This baby girl was born with a unique hair style that would not go unnoticed by the public eye. This baby was born in 2006 with a white streak in the middle of her head.  Although this was a rare condition, it did not turn out to be disturbing since it made MilliAnna very adorable just like baby Bence.

MilliAnna-born with white-patch of hair
MilliAnna

Even that, doctors carried out tests to find out the reasons for MilliAnna’s strange color on part of her hair.  Tests found that only the part of the hair that was white lacked the correct melanin levels. This meant that her other scalp had sufficient melanin and so was her entire skin.

It was discovered that MilliAnna’s case was as a result of hereditary traits and that took away any worry that the doctors had. Her mother and grandmother had this white streak on their hair and that confirmed the trait was transferred to MilliAnna as well. This was a unique family mark. In fact, it was traced to four generations of MilliAnna’s family.

Doctors did not however stop carrying out tests after discovering the white streak was hereditary. They finally decided to refer to the condition found in MilliAnna’s family as poliosis. [2]

Ways to get rid, treat and avoid white hair in newborns

There are cases where the white hair condition can be treated or rather improved while there are those that cannot be treated. For instance, where the white hair is due to albinism, you cannot correct the condition since it is in your genes. As well, where the white hair condition is a heredity trait, it may be very difficult to treat the condition.

Even that, where the white hair in your baby is due to low melanin levels, you may consider boosting the baby’s melanin levels as that would help the hair get its right color pigmentation with time. Below are ways to boost your child’s melanin levels;

  • Give her plenty of proteins. This is because proteins promote melanin production in your baby.
  • Eat seafood as long as you are not allergic to it. This is because, it contains copper and iodine. When the levels of copper and iodine are low in your baby’s system, the body is hindered from producing melanin. [3]
  • In the case where the baby’s white hair was as a result of vitamin deficiency during pregnancy, you are advised to include vitamins in your baby’s diet. [4]

Pregnant mothers can avoid giving birth to babies with white hair by avoiding stress and feeding in correct amounts of vitamins. Pregnant mothers must also feed on a balanced diet to ensure stability in the newborns body functions such as melanin production.

[1] http://www.simple-remedies.com/childrens-health/white-hair-in-children.html

[2] http://www.kiwireport.com/truth-behind-white-haired-baby/

[3] https://www.livestrong.com/article/428331-how-to-increase-melanin-with-vitamins/

[4] http://www.momjunction.com/articles/premature-grey-and-white-hair-in-kids_00384742/#gref

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