By Gary M. White, MD

Green hair typically occurs from copper deposition on the hair. It may occur from various sources including water from the tap, swimming pools, or from industrial sources of copper. The source of the copper from swimming pools may be the water itself (which has some amount of copper) or aging copper pipes. Copper-based algicides or other pool additives may also potentially be offenders. Tap water may get increased copper levels from copper tubing.


The hair shows a green tint. The prior color is blond or gray (either natural or tinted). Dark hair does not readily show the green color. Chemical or physical damage to the hair cuticle are predisposing factors.


Bleaching with 3% hydrogen peroxide for 2 to 3 hours is effective in most cases. Other options include washing with the chelating agent acetic acid for 30 minutes or using a penicillamine-containing shampoo [JAAD 1986;15;1065].


Hair turned green from copper pipes in house. Pediatric Dermatology Vol. 31 No. 4 July/August 2014


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