What is this skin problem I have that makes my facial hair turn Gray? (image included)
September 8, 2012 9:31 AM   Subscribe

What is this skin problem I have that makes my facial hair turn Gray? (image included)

It happened a few years ago, I noticed a patch of gray hair, and I've realized the skin there is of a different color and texture, I assume it's a skin problem. What is the problem, and is it treatable? It happened when I was under an extreme amount of stress at age 27 (2 years ago), and it hasn't gone away. it's mostly just in this one spot, but there is a very tiny other patch on my face.

It seems to have grown very slowly, but I'm not sure. It has never returned to normal color.

You can't notice it if I'm clean shaven unless you examine carefully.

Image: http://postimage.org/image/tltsr7nwp/
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Can't tell from your photo, but if the skin in the area where the hair is white is also lighter in color then it could be Vitiligo. Check with a dermatologist? (Note thought that my husband started to get gray in his beard in his twenties as part of the normal graying process.)
posted by gudrun at 10:34 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you're just going grey. Grey hair is a different texture than regular hair, so I wouldn't be surprised if the skin associated with the grey is too... after all, older people have a different skin texture than younger people.
posted by windykites at 10:40 AM on September 8, 2012

I also vote for just going gray. The skin texture might be partly because your gray hair isn't protecting your skin from the sun as much as your dark hair does. But it probably wouldn't hurt to mention it to your doctor, if you're concerned.
posted by mskyle at 10:49 AM on September 8, 2012

This doesn't look lik any graying I've ever seen (but who knows). Dermo
posted by Patbon at 11:06 AM on September 8, 2012

Yeah, it's just grey hairs. I have them in patches in my beard, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:47 AM on September 8, 2012

The grey looks normal, the skin doesn't. I started growing in grey (SILVER, ahem) hair before I hit puberty, and the skin under my grey hair is the same as everywhere else.
Dermatologist imo.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:26 PM on September 8, 2012

Seconding Vitiligo. As a bonus it does often show up under stress.
posted by mazienh at 12:43 PM on September 8, 2012

Are you sure the skin is different there? Because gray hair has a pretty different texture from non-gray, and on the face it's pretty hard to separate the beard from the skin. My friest reaction is "just going gray" as well. But every man in my family has gone gray with splotches in the beard decades before it reached the head.

If it would alleviate your concerns a dermatologist trip would be a good investment, but I personally wouldn't bother unless it was combined with some discomfort or other symptom.
posted by Ookseer at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2012

Hi, I have vitiligo. It's pretty much characterized by pigment draining away from your skin, as well as your hair. Check the skin below the follicles to see if it's lighter than the surroundings. (note: Michael Jackson did not have vitiligo. That is not what's happening!)

Obviously, you'll be seeing a dermo to get things checked out, but as a general rule this is harmless. Make sure that you cover up or put SPF 50 on the affected area if you're spending a long time in the summer sun, though. My scalp, arms and parts of my back have vitiligo and I burn whenever I think about the sun.
posted by randomination at 4:16 PM on September 8, 2012

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