Piercing icy gaze, or eyes red like holly berries. Frozen brows and eyelashes that give them a frosted glow. The aristocratic complexion is almost see-through as glass. And hair that is whiter than snow.
Albino people can bring the chilling splendor of winter, even in spring. But can they change their most unique feature? Can albinos color their hair?
Yes, they almost always can! If you’re albino and craving a little appearance change – then keep on reading!
There are numerous factors that may impact the outcome of albino hair coloring – and even more solutions – covered in this guide.
So, without further ado, let us uncover a few hair secrets – and break a few myths.
What Does Albinism Mean For Your Hair?
What gives color to hair? Science has the answer to this one:
Hair color relies on the presence of melanin – a dark biological pigment made thanks to tyrosine. Pigment granules are the end result of this amino acid’s metabolism path.
Special cells called melanocytes are responsible for this process. Did you know that these cells have a few tentacles, kind of like an octopus?
Those tentacles spread melanin granules to surrounding keratinocyte cells of the hair strand – a process of pigment deposition we call “melanism.” The absence of tyrosine is the signature sign of the opposite – a lack of melanin known as albinism.
How Are There Different Shades Of Hair Color?
Why do people differ so much when it comes to hair, skin, and eye color?
Well, you might be surprised to learn this, but there are actually different types of melanin. One is dark brown and called eumelanin, and the other is pale red or yellowish, called phaeomelanin.
That’s the reason humans differ in hair – and skin – color depending on which part of the world they come from. Melanin is essentially a safety shield and part of the evolution process in all organisms.
So, Darvin was up to something right; it all comes to natural selection.
Pigmentation is pivotal for all organisms, enabling better blending with the environment. And as you might know, melanin is crucial for being safe under the sun’s rays.
Who would’ve thought that hair color could, in a sense, be a life-saver?
What Has Albinism To Do With Hair?
Albinism occurs because of mutations in the genes. They’re in charge of synthesizing tyrosinase – the critical enzyme for oxidizing tyrosine into melanin.
The reason for these mutations is unknown, though.
It’s worth noting that it’s a hereditary illness, meaning a person could carry the gene and not be ill. That’s why albinism is considered a recessive illness.
So, checking the family tree is a pretty good idea.
Where Am I On The Albino Scale?
There are many types of this illness. Usually, we categorize albinism by which gene “took the fall.”
With that said, here are three specific groups:
1. Albinism related to rare syndromes
(they are systematic and often “attacking” lungs, blood cells, and bowl)
2. Ocular albinism
(limited to the eyes and causing only visual problems)
3. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA)
(the most common type and the one you first think of; focal when it comes to hair color)
A person with a malformation on this gene inherited both mutated genes – one from the mother and one from the father. That means that both parents could be mere carriers of a mutated gene – but they don’t have to be ill themselves.
So, there’s a real surprise baby!
A prenatal diagnosis is an option available to today’s parents, though. Doctors can now predict albinism between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.
It’s called autosomal recessive inheritance and happens in one of seven genes. The amount of pigment in the hair varies by type, or more precisely, by which gene it affects.
It goes from completely depigmented snowy white hair, brown, all the way to ginger. Thus, the phenotype of albinos can vary more than one might think.
You might have a milder type – without even realizing that you do!
My Hair Is Art – What Can The Magic Brush Do?
Being unusual and specific is exceptional. If you are an albino, we’re sure you can relate. But this does not come without challenges:
Those completely deprived of pigment in the hair strand most likely won’t be able to color their hair since the dye has no melanin to “stick” to.
Don’t give up yet, though; several visits to a professional might be all it takes.
Like many things in life, this might require a little patience!
There’s a reason everyone calls albino hair a white canvas.
On such hair, any color of the palette will turn out brighter and bolder than expected. The results can be unpredictable, though, since hair dyes are generally made for strands with a base color.
It’s a bit like the difference between painting a blank canvas and a colored one.
The world needs natural hair products more suitable for albinos. That might just be a fantastic business idea right there!
If you’re an albino, don’t get disheartened – there’s an upside to this, as well:
Unlike most women, you don’t have to bleach your hair to get those exquisite neon and pastel shades!
Choosing the right shade to match a specific skin tone is always a hassle for women. But the good news is that there are all sorts of color palettes on the Internet – which should make the process of choosing the right one a bit easier.
Am I Taking A Risk Trying To Color My Albino Hair?
There are up to five syndromes of albinism associated with systemic pathology – and you might link these with skin problems and expect skin disorders.
Sounds scary, right?
The truth is the opposite: Palmoplantar keratoderma is the only known dermatitis symptomatic for albinism. It is relatively rare and doesn’t occur in every albinism type. Plus, this condition doesn’t affect the scalp, so it doesn’t concern your hairstyle fantasies.
On the other hand, depigmentation can reduce the level of protection from harmful sun rays, making you prone to melanoma and sunburns. That’s why sunscreens with a higher SPF are recommended as a precaution.
More Specific Danger
The CHS albino syndrome could cause abnormal leukocyte function – which can be a problem. You see, when irritated from coloring, the scalp becomes an unlocked pathway for bacteria that the natural “killer cells” of the immune system might not be able to repulse.
But no worries; if you’re considering dying your hair, you likely don’t have this vicious syndrome.
What’s The Secret Coloring Recipe?
As an albino, you’re probably well aware that you should beware of sunlight. And as silly as it sounds, that might sway your hair color choice, as well.
Being exposed to sunlight on a daily basis makes the skin extra sensitive.
So, you shouldn’t apply the usual chemically-based hair colors on an already delicate scalp – or irritate it further by going outside right after hair coloring.
Sometimes when using low-quality hair dye brands, the tint doesn’t take well – but the scalp still “picks it up,” leaving you with an interesting-colored head. We’ll refrain from making any clown jokes here, though.
Additionally, this can damage the hair follicles, leading to a woman’s greatest fear – hair thinning and hair loss.
Hair dyes with a vegetable base can be a suitable alternative. You could even make all-natural henna from the homonymous flower. This plant has been popular for years now – and comes in red, honey blonde, and black when you grind the petals.
Many people say the hair absorbs it well, and the color can last relatively long. Best of all, it can be homemade.
If you have a garden, think twice when planting time comes!
Also, consider using temporary and semi-permanent hair tints. The lack of melanin will cause it to rinse out fast, anyway.
Purple shampoo meant for treating red undertones in blondes is an option worth considering, too. Granted, it’s rich in chemicals – but you can leave it for a few minutes every time you wash your hair.
Also, you should always do a patch test 48 hours before any hair coloring and make sure no allergic reactions appear. Being extra vigilant can’t hurt – especially when it comes to coloring your eyebrows and eyelashes.
Plus, it could show you exactly what color shade to expect.
Last but not least, be sure to visit an experienced colorist – that’s something we’d recommend to any woman, albino or not!
Read More: Does Hair Dye Expire?
Can Albinos Color Their Hair? – Conclusion
The first albino mouse came into a science lab in the early 19th century – and science has tried to understand albinism ever since. In 2000, medical scientists in Philadelphia even attempted gene therapy on albino mice with the hopes of turning their fur dark.
But it seems that there’s no remedy that would alter albino symptoms.
Meanwhile, we’ve found the answer to at least one mystery – can albinos color their hair?
Yes! We can learn to appreciate and accept individuality while enjoying beautiful different albino hair colors.