What is Premature Greying: Causes, Prevention, Treatment, and Common Questions Answered
Gray hair is a normal change that the body goes through as we age, just like wrinkles, age spots, and many more signs of aging. It’s nothing to be alarmed or ashamed about. Most everyone gets gray hair at some point in their life eventually, it just means you’re entering another chapter.
With that said, some people do get gray hair earlier in life. While there may be several causes for this, it’s unusual for this to happen, and if it does, it should be addressed properly, as it can be a sign that something in your lifestyle needs to change.
This condition is called premature greying. In this article, we’ll talk about the causes, prevention, and treatment of premature grey hair and answer some questions you may have about it.
What is Premature Greying?
Premature greying refers to the condition where a person’s hair turns gray earlier in life. People as young as teenagers can get premature greying which is way younger than what is considered to be normal. If premature greying happens, there may be some underlying issues that need to be addressed.
What Causes Premature Grey Hair?
There can be several reasons why premature greying can happen, and it really depends on a person’s lifestyle, genetics, medical condition, diet, and habits. You can refer to our simple guide to help you figure out what might be causing your premature greying.
Vitamin Deficiency and Premature Graying
Deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can cause premature greying. Vitamin B12 deficiency, in particular, is linked to premature graying. This vitamin is essential for the process of pigment production at the bulb of the hair. Pigment is what produces the natural color of your hair, and the more pigment or melanin there is, the darker the hair. When the body lacks vitamin B12, it results in premature graying of the hair because pigment production is halted.
Premature greying can also be caused by something called oxidative stress. This is when the body is deficient in antioxidants or if there are too many toxin-inducing factors in your life. Oxidative stress not only causes premature gray hair, but it also causes premature aging in general.
Smoking is one of the top causes of premature gray hair. Studies show that smokers are 2 ½ times more likely to go gray as early as their 20s. Smoking can also cause or worsen oxidative stress that also contributes to premature aging.
Some people go gray much earlier in their lives because it’s simply in their genes. While premature greying can be considered as such when going gray in your 20s, some people can go gray as early as their teen years. If you’ve seen any relatives of yours going gray young, there’s a chance that you’ve inherited that gene. Lucky for you, this usually means that nothing wrong is going on health-wise.
Besides smoking, stress is another top cause of premature graying of hair. After all, there’s a reason for the famous saying, “You’re gonna make me go gray!”
Stress is a complicated thing to manage, and it can manifest in a thousand different ways in the body, including making you ill and messing with your overall appearance. One of these effects is premature greying. When the body is under a lot of stress, pigment-producing cells in the scalp decrease resulting in gray hair.
Bleaching, chemical processing, relaxing, heat styling, and other damaging processes can also be the cause of gray hair. Doing too much or not properly taking care of the hair after these damaging practices can take a toll on the hair and eventually cause it to die and halt pigment production.
Underlying medical issues can also cause premature greying. If you suspect this, it’s important to consult a medical professional to get the appropriate treatment.
Can Premature Graying be Reversed?
Premature graying can be prevented and reversed by making a few changes. Here are a few tips on how to do that: