Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Poliosis is an inherited or acquired, localized loss of pigment from a group of closely-positioned hair follicles resulting in a patch of white/hypopigmented area of hairs of head, moustache, eyelashes, eyebrows, beard or another place. It may affect persons of all genders and all ages.

Poliosis occurs most often along the forehead (so-called white forelock), it can involve hair anywhere on the body and can happen anytime in life. It can occur in otherwise healthy people and may represent no more than an anomaly of hair and skin pigmentation. When healthy people have it, this simply means there is no pigment in the hair and skin of that involved area.

What exactly happens leading to the development and onset of Poliosis is not well known. It is however believed that abnormal changes must occur to the melanocytes which are responsible for color pigmentation.

Causes and Risk Factors:

    Inflammatory or autoimmune: Vitiligo, Halo nevus, Alopecia areata, Post-inflammatory dermatoses, Post-trauma, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, Alezzandrini syndrome, Pernicious anemia.

  • Inherited: Marfan's syndrome, Tuberous sclerosis, Piebaldism, Waardenburg syndrome, Isolated forelock, Isolated occipital (X-linked recessive), White forelock with Osteopathia striata (autosomal or X-linked dominant), White forelock with multiple malformations (autosomal or X-linked recessive).

  • Nevoid: with nevus comedonicus secondary to mosaicism, and various kinds of focal skin cancers.

  • Drug induced: Topical prostaglandin F2-alpha and its analogs (latanoprost and isopropyl unoprostone), Cyclosporine and Chloroquine.

  • Endocrinal: Hypo/hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, hypopituitarism.

  • Idiopathic: Premature growing can appear without any underlying pathology.


Individuals with poliosis have white patches of hair that may develop anywhere on the body. However, most patients develop white patches on the front of the hairline.


The main emphasis should be laid on a complete physical examination, a Nutritional & endocrinal survey, a study of the organic nervous causes and also a study of the local bleaching factors.A blood test may be performed to determine if an autoimmune or genetic disorder is causing the symptoms. A sample of skin may also be analyzed to determine if the patient has a skin disorder, such as Vitiligo.


There is currently no cure for poliosis. Individuals can choose to dye their hair so it matches their normal hair color. They may also style their hair in a way that covers or hides the white patch of hair.


  • Elimination of causes. Avoid excessive use of antibiotics.

  • Improvement of general health; the administration of iron, liver extract, vitamins, synthetic or predigested proteins, amino acids, copper, zinc, Orabolin (P) or Placental extract injection, calcium pantothenate daily.

  • Oxsoralen lotion or ointment, and U.V.R exposures (similar to the treatment for Vitiligo) may be beneficial.

  • Dyeing is often the only effective method of changing the color of grey hair.

  • Surgical intervention: An epidermal graft on depigmented skin is seen to be helpful in re-pigmentation of poliosis.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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