• Users Online: 306
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-69

Repigmentation of gray hair: A case report with a brief review of literature

1 Indian College of Allergy and Applied Immunology, New Delhi, India
2 JJ Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, Punjab, India

Date of Submission23-Apr-2022
Date of Decision06-Oct-2022
Date of Acceptance17-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Vinod Parkash Jerath
Indian College of Allergy and Applied Immunology, New Delhi
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiag.jiag_17_22

Rights and Permissions

A case of gray hair nearly 99% was seen to be converted to more than 99% of the pigmented hair, after using full sleeves shirts for 2 years, with 1-year follow-up, with the same results, and on screening the literature, we find it first such case in the world literature of almost complete repigmentation of both the forearms after using full sleeves shirts for 2 years and a follow-up of 1 year.

Keywords: Graying, medication, repigmentation, treatment

How to cite this article:
Jerath VP, Nischal R, Jerath A. Repigmentation of gray hair: A case report with a brief review of literature. J Indian Acad Geriatr 2023;19:67-9

How to cite this URL:
Jerath VP, Nischal R, Jerath A. Repigmentation of gray hair: A case report with a brief review of literature. J Indian Acad Geriatr [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Mar 22];19:67-9. Available from: http://www.jiag.com/text.asp?2023/19/1/67/371898

  Introduction Top

Hair graying is a common sign of aging, and there is no satisfactory medical treatment available for repigmentation. For scalp and bearded men, many hair dyes are available, but they can cause contact dermatitis, irritation to the scalp, and damage to the hair shaft. Graying of the hairs, also called canities, is a part of natural aging process.

Some causes of premature canities are reversible such as nutritional deficiencies, especially Vitamin B12, iron, copper, and severe protein malnutrition (usually causing hypopigmentation of the hair), vegetarian diet, and atopy. The causes of canities include pollution, emotional stress, alcohol, and cigarette smoking due to oxidative stress.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Graying of the hair (canities) is a usual feature of aging and has no significant treatment for it. For the scalp and beard region, hair dyes are available, but not without side effects. Other than paraphenylenediamine dyes, there are some herbal dyes and henna which can be used. Of late injection testosterone 250 mg I/M once in 3 weeks has been tried with good results, and testosterone cream has been suggested for vitiligo or maculopathy patches; however, in men, it may cause some hair loss, and in females, hirsutism.[5] Calcium pantothenate, PABA, and riboflavin have been used with no definite results. It has been reported that 6%–23% of the persons have 50% canities by the age of 50 years.[1],[2]

  Case Report Top

Here in, we are reporting a patient (the author), 70-year-old male, who got gray hair on both the forearms who used half sleeves shirts in summer and full sleeves in winter. The author was disturbed to see the gray hair on the forearms, but then, he was reminded of the saying of his ancestors that “I have not grayed my hair in the sunlight,” and after that, he started full sleeves for 2 years judiciously and all the gray hairs turned black, as can be seen in the photographs. Only two to three gray hairs can be seen in the forearms. However, the eyebrows exposed to the sun are totally gray. The patient is totally healthy and has not used any of the drugs such as paba, calcium pantothenate and other group of drugs such as acitretin, prednisolone, cyclosporin, psoralens, levodopa, and drugs for so many autoimmune diseases and biologicals.[4]

Even pigmentation started in the patches of maculopathy. Maculopathy/Vitiligo has, however, been seen in Griscelli syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, and Chediak-Higashi syndrome, and in young age, it may be associated with choroidal thickening and other eye complications.[6] Maculopathy is usually caused by aging, and even hair inside the patches turned black as can be seen in the photographs.
Figure 1: Maculopathy patch being pigmented and hair in this also fully pigmented

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Psoralen plus ultraviolet A was reported by Pavithran[7] to induce gray hair repigmentation directly in patients with gray hair, and noted that in the age group of 10–20 years with premature gray hair, 46% got completely black hair with no relapse up to 8 months of follow-up. The above-said theory though used by us, for say vitiligo and psoriasis do not fit in our scheme of things. We want to protect hair from the sun, and there is nothing better than full sleeves shirts, when you use them judiciously, as in the present case. Although a swallow does not make a summer, the results in the present case are too good to be believed. Furthermore, one can observe pigmentation on the patches of maculopathy (the spots of aging) and even pigmentation of hair in maculopathy patch. Chronological as well as photoaging affect almost every aspect of skin biology, from neurological to vasculature, to collagen and immune system.[8] Hormones too are lowered, especially testosterone in the present case, and this could be the cause of maculopathy.[9] Due to COVID-19, the dermatologist left the clinic at 2 p.m., and after that, he used half sleeves t-shirt and nickers, but no graying seen as has been shown in our latest photographs shot on 27-07-2022; however, so far, there is no significant difference, and hairs on the forearms, legs, and thighs are black, although in latter parts, hairs are sparse and thin, hence not photographed. This is just like topical steroids used for hypopigmentation as well as hyperpigmentation. How do we explain the pigmentation in the patches of maculopathy, while in vitiligo, we use psoralens and sun exposure, which is paradoxical to see pigmentation in maculopathy.

After the results in this case, we have started the study of sunscreen for eyebrows at least thrice a day, because it is easy to count the hair and watch regularly after a few months of repigmentation of hair, if any. We wish some more people start the study to reach conclusive evidence. Giving the medicines mentioned above is not advisable just for the darkening of the hair due to their side effects, except for the vitamins such as paba, calcium pantothenate and riboflavin.
Figure 2: Tiny spots of pigmentation in four maculopathy patches

Click here to view


We are sorry to inform and thank them to whose names have not been mentioned, because it is just a case report.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Panhard S, Lozano I, Loussouarn G. Greying of the human hair: A worldwide survey, revisiting the '50' rule of thumb. Br J Dermatol 2012;167:865-73.  Back to cited text no. 1
Park AM, Khan S, Rawnsley J. Hair biology: Growth and pigmentation. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am 2018;26:415-24.  Back to cited text no. 2
Tobin D. The aging hair pigmentary unit. In: Trüeb R, Tobin D, editors. Aging Hair. 1st ed. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 77-89.  Back to cited text no. 3
Yale K, Juhasz M, Atanaskova Mesinkovska N. Medication-induced repigmentation of gray hair: A systematic review. Skin Appendage Disord 2020;6:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 4
Jerath VP. Testosterone – Its role on skin pigmentation, the hair and vitiligo. Eur J Biomedi Pharm Sci 2019;6:142-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kim SW, Oh J, Kwon SS, Yoo J, Huh K. Comparison of choroidal thickness among patients with healthy eyes, early age-related maculopathy, neovascular age-related macular degeneration, central serous chorioretinopathy, and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy. Retina 2011;31:1904-11.  Back to cited text no. 6
Pavithran K. Puvasol therapy in premature greying of hair. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1986;52:74-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Kligman AM. Perspectives and problems in cutaneous gerontology. J Invest Dermatol 1979;73:39-46.  Back to cited text no. 8
Koperad N. Impact of testosterone on hair and skin. Endocrional Metab Syndr 2015;4:187.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case Report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded2    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal