International Journal of Trichology International Journal of Trichology
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 278-283

Relationship between trace elements and premature hair graying

1 Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
2 Departments of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
3 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Nashwa N Elfar
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijot.ijot_8_18

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Context: Hair is said to gray prematurely when a minimum of five gray hairs occurs before the age of 20 in fair skinned, 25 in Asians, and 30 in Africans. It may be genetically associated with autoimmune syndromes or certain environmental factors. Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the serum level of iron, copper, and calcium and to assess their role in premature hair graying. Subjects and Methods: This study was carried out on 60 patients with premature hair graying (PHG) and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy individuals served as a control group. The severity of PHG was assessed by the hair whitening scoring system. Serum iron, copper, and calcium concentrations were measured using Beckman Coulter instrument and spectrophotometric method. Results: There was a reduction in serum levels of iron, copper, and calcium in patients with PHG in comparison with controls. There was a statistically negative significant correlation between the severity of PHG and serum iron and calcium levels. There was a negative nonsignificant correlation between body mass index and serum iron, copper, and calcium levels. Conclusions: Serum iron, copper, and calcium levels were reduced in association with PHG and correlated with its severity. Premature graying may be an indicator that hair is not getting enough nutrients and minerals, and supplementation with these trace elements might reverse and is expected to prevent progression of canities; however, further studies are needed to find the underlying mechanism of this relationship.

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