When a person has a patch of white hair from birth or develops one but otherwise keeps their natural hair color, they have poliosis (poliosis circumscripta). It happens when multiple hair follicles lack melanin, which is a pigment that gives your skin, hair, and eyes their color. As a result, the hair that grows out of those hair follicles is white.
Any hair on the body, including the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes, can be impacted by poliosis. While polio is not dangerous in and of itself, it can occasionally indicate a more serious medical condition.
2. What Are the Signs and Types of Poliosis hair?
White hair, or localized loss of pigmentation in the hair, is a defining feature of poliosis and frequently appears in patches. The word comes from the Greek words “polios,” which means gray, and “iosis,” which means abnormal or pathological. The following are poliosis types and symptoms:
Signs of Poliosis:
- Localized White Hair:
- The predominant indication of poliosis is the localized occurrence of white or gray hair encircled by typically pigmented hair in a particular area.
- Patchy Distribution:
- Usually, poliosis affects only a small area of the body or scalp, not the whole thing.
- Eyelashes and Eyebrows:
- In addition to affecting eyebrows and eyelashes, poliosis can cause patches of gray or white hair in these regions.
- Vitiligo Association:
- Poliosis can occasionally be linked to vitiligo, a disease that causes white patches on the skin due to pigment loss in the skin.
Types of Poliosis:
- Congenital Poliosis:
- Congenital poliosis is a condition that is present from birth and is brought on by genetic factors or problems with fetal development.
- Acquired Poliosis:
- Later-life onset of this type of poliosis may be linked to a number of underlying illnesses, including infections or autoimmune diseases.
- Associated with Autoimmune Disorders:
- Sometimes there is a connection between poliosis and autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata, in which the immune system attacks hair follicles by mistake.
- Trauma-Induced Poliosis:
- In affected areas, physical trauma like burns or skin injuries can result in poliosis.
- Neurogenic Poliosis:
- Depigmentation is caused by a disruption of nerve signals to hair follicles, which is connected to neurogenic poliosis.
- Drug-Induced Poliosis:
- Poliosis is a side effect of some medications. Drugs used in chemotherapy, for instance, may change the color of hair.
- Idiopathic Poliosis:
- In some cases, the cause of poliosis remains unknown, and it is classified as idiopathic.
3. What Causes Poliosis?
There are several possible poliosis causes, which results in a localized loss of hair pigmentation. The following are some typical variables that might contribute to the beginning of poliosis:
- Genetic Factors:
- Genetic factors may play a role in congenital poliosis, a condition in which the illness is present from birth. White patches in the hair may develop as a result of inherited characteristics.
- Autoimmune Disorders:
- Poliosis can result from illnesses like alopecia areata, in which the immune system unintentionally targets the hair follicles. Affected areas of hair turn white or gray as a result of the immune response’s disruption of the natural pigmentation process.
- Patches of skin loss of pigmentation are the hallmark of vitiligo. Since both conditions involve the loss of melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment, there may be a correlation between it and poliosis in certain cases.
- Neurological Factors:
- Damage to nerves is associated with neurogenic poliosis. Depigmentation may occur if nerve signals to the hair follicles are disrupted. This type of poliosis may be exacerbated by neurological disorders or trauma.
- Trauma or Injury:
- Poliosis can develop in areas of the skin that have experienced physical trauma, such as burns or injuries. The trauma may interfere with the melanocytes’ ability to produce pigment in hair.
- Poliosis can be caused by some infections, especially those that affect the skin and hair follicles. Infection-induced inflammatory reactions may obstruct the pigmentation process.
- Drug-Induced Poliosis:
- As a side effect, some medications, such as some chemotherapy drugs, can cause poliosis. These medications’ effects on hair follicles may change the hair’s natural pigmentation.
- Idiopathic Causes:
- Idiopathic poliosis occurs when the cause is unknown. Healthcare practitioners might not be able to pinpoint a specific underlying cause even after conducting a thorough investigation.
It’s crucial to remember that poliosis can present in a variety of ways, and each person may have a different underlying cause. For poliosis to have a specific cause in a given case, a dermatologist or other healthcare professional must perform a thorough examination.
4. How Is Poliosis Diagnosed?
Diagnosing poliosis involves a thorough examination by a healthcare professional, typically a dermatologist. The process may include the following steps:
- Medical History:
- First, the medical professional will take a thorough medical history, which will include details about the poliosis’s onset, any accompanying symptoms, family history, and the existence of any underlying medical conditions.
- Physical Examination:
- A physical examination will concentrate on the skin, hair, and other structures that are affected. The dermatologist will examine the depigmented hair patches closely in order to determine the extent and distribution of poliosis.
- Dermatoscopy, sometimes referred to as dermoscopy, is a more in-depth examination of the skin and hair using a portable instrument. This method helps identify distinguishing characteristics by providing a magnified view of the affected area.
- A biopsy might be suggested in some circumstances in order to take a tiny sample of the afflicted skin or hair follicles. After that, the sample is examined under a microscope to determine whether any abnormalities or underlying skin conditions are present.
- Blood Tests:
- To look for autoimmune markers or other systemic diseases that might be connected to poliosis, blood tests may be performed. This is especially important if an underlying autoimmune disorder is suspected.
- Imaging Studies:
- To evaluate the underlying structures and rule out any neurological causes of poliosis, imaging studies like computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered in specific circumstances.
- Evaluation of Associated Symptoms:
- In order to comprehend the overall clinical picture, the healthcare provider may carry out extra assessments if poliosis is linked to other symptoms or conditions.
- Rule Out Other Causes:
- It’s critical to rule out additional possible reasons for hair discoloration, such as fungal infections, drug side effects, or dietary deficiencies.
5. How Is Poliosis Treated?
The treatment of poliosis depends on the underlying cause and the specific circumstances of each case. It’s important to note that in some instances, especially when poliosis is idiopathic (of unknown cause), there may not be a specific cure. However, the following are some approaches that may be considered:
- Addressing Underlying Conditions:
- Treating the underlying cause of poliosis may help control or improve the disease if it is linked to an autoimmune disorder, infection, or other medical condition.
- Topical Treatments:
- Topical therapies may be suggested in certain situations to address the poliosis’s appearance. To help blend the depigmented patches with the surrounding hair, cosmetic camouflage products like hair dyes or pigmented creams can be used.
- Counseling and Support:
- Counseling or support groups may be helpful for people with poliosis, particularly if it is visible and causes emotional distress. Emotional support and coping mechanisms can be crucial components of general wellbeing.
- Medical Monitoring:
- A healthcare provider may need to monitor the patient on a regular basis to detect any changes in the condition and modify the treatment plan based on the underlying cause.
- Consideration of Hair Restoration Techniques:
- In certain situations, hair transplantation or other hair restoration methods might be taken into consideration, especially if the poliosis is localized and seriously impairing one’s appearance. Hair follicles from one part of the body are moved to the depigmented areas during these procedures.
- When there is a correlation between poliosis and specific skin conditions like vitiligo, phototherapy—which entails exposing the affected skin to ultraviolet (UV) lightmight be taken into consideration. The goal of this strategy is to encourage the repigmentation of the impacted areas.
- It is imperative that people who have poliosis speak with a medical expert, usually a dermatologist, to figure out the best course of action given their unique diagnosis and situation.
6. Related Conditions
Numerous conditions may occur with or be linked to poliosis, and knowledge of these conditions can shed light on the underlying causes of poliosis as well as possible treatment strategies. These ailments are frequently associated with or occur in alongside poliosis:
- Alopecia Areata:
- In autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata, hair follicles are mistakenly attacked by the immune system, resulting in hair loss. In regions where alopecia areata is prevalent, poliosis may also exist.
- Skin disease called vitiligo is characterized by pigmentation loss, which leaves white patches on the skin. In conjunction with vitiligo, poliosis can affect the hair in areas that have lost pigmentation.
- Halo Nevus:
- Halo nevi is frequently seen in the hair in the depigmented zone and is linked to poliosis.
- Tuberous Sclerosis:
- Tuberous sclerosis is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of benign tumors in various organs. Poliosis may occur in association with skin manifestations of tuberous sclerosis.
- A genetic disorder called piebaldism is typified by congenital areas of skin and hair that lack pigmentation. A common characteristic of piebaldists is poliosis.
- Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1):
- A genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 1 results in tumors growing on nerves. There is a correlation between NF1 skin manifestations and poliosis.
- Hypomelanosis of Ito:
- A rare genetic disorder called hypomelanosis of Ito can result in skin depigmentation patches that frequently resemble Blaschko lines. There could be poliosis in the impacted areas.
- Trauma or Burns:
- Poliosis can develop in areas of the skin affected by physical trauma or burns, which can interfere with normal skin pigmentation.
- Poliosis can mix with some skin infections, particularly those that impact the hair follicles in the afflicted areas.
Poliosis poses a distinct set of considerations and challenges, especially in cases of poliosis circumscripta. As we’ve looked at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and available treatments, it’s critical to take a multifaceted approach to treating polio. People can effectively manage this condition and make decisions about their care by being informed and seeking professional guidance.
What is poliosi‘s
Poliosi’s is a condition characterized by localized white or gray hair patches on the scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes.
What causes poliosi’s?
Poliosis can result from genetic factors, autoimmune disorders, vitiligo, trauma, infections, or be idiopathic (unknown cause).
Can poliosis be treated?
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Options include addressing the root condition, topical treatments, camouflage techniques, and, in some cases, hair restoration.