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10 reasons for grey hair at an early age

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Finding that first grey hair on your head – How would you react?

Well, let’s not talk about it. It is quite obvious that no one likes to see grey hair irrespective of the age. People growing old may still find it okay to spot the ‘grey’ but for young people – it’s a shocking and embarrassing sight!

Why does hair turn grey at an early age? There are a lot of reasons for adding a different shade to your natural hair color. Let’s find out.

Reasons for Greying of Hair:

1. Age

When we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles slowly wither. This leads to fewer pigment cells in the hair follicle. As a result, the hair strands no longer contain as much melanin as before. The hair now wears a more transparent colour like grey, silver or white - as it grows. Eventually, the hair will look completely grey.

People can get grey hair at any age. Some people ‘go’ grey at a very young age, even in their teens, whereas others may go ‘grey-haired’ in their 30s and 40s. In some instances, it may take more than 10-12 years for all of a person’s hair to ‘go’ grey.

2. Genetics

How early one gets affected with grey hair is determined by your genes. This is one of the reasons why most of us start having grey hair around the same age that our parents or grandparents first did.

3. Vitamin deficiency

Research has established a defined link between a deficiency of vitamin B12 and premature greying. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products including milk, poultry, red meat, and eggs. Vegetarians normally face a deficiency of vitamin B12 as it does not exist naturally in any plant-based diet plan.  Those who follow a vegetarian or a vegan diet can include breakfast cereal, soya, and nutritional yeast to overcome this deficiency.

4. Excessive Stress

Very little evidence supports stress as a primary cause of premature greying in children. However, it is widely acknowledged that high-stress levels can speed up the process of graying in children who are already susceptible to the condition due to genetic factors or vitamin deficiencies.

5. Vitiligo

This is a condition in which hair loses pigmentation in patches due to a decrease in melanin production. As a result, the hair follicles that grow after melanin loss have no colour. Hence, the grey appearance is only in those patches affected by vitiligo.

6. Smoking

Smoking can cause your hair to prematurely grey. A study in the UK found that smokers were up to four times more likely to have grey hair than their non-smoking counterparts.

7. Pollution

Pollutants, chemicals, ultraviolet (UV) light, free radicals, and by-products of chemical processes are responsible for aging and tissue damage which impinge on melanin production, while impacting your hair’s natural pigmentation, triggering grey hair.

8. Hair Care Products

Strong chemical hair bleaches, dyes, conditioners, and shampoos can contribute to greying of hair - sooner than later.

9. Thyroid

Thyroid disorders can lead to grey hair or diffuse grey hair at a young age.

10. Dental Whitening Products

The ‘whitener’ smile of your teeth whitening toothpaste is also said to blot your hair colour. A study has shown that even a tiny dose of hydrogen peroxide, found in teeth whiteners, can initiate melanocyte death which results is grey hair.

Please keep in mind that there is no hair treatment that can reverse the process of greying. However, you can arrest the development of further grey hair by understanding the specific causes behind it and taking necessary precautions accordingly.

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