When we were growing up, we used to associate grey hair with old age. But today grey hair is showing up on people as young as teenagers. Most people in their 20s are sporting a few strands of grey. Some have accepted the new hue with grace while others have a hard time acclimating to this change. But we are all curious- why is premature greying of hair becoming so prevalent? Read on to know all about this startling phenomenon.
Why does hair turn grey?
Hair owes its colour to pigments (melanin) produced by particular cells in our hair. If these cells cease producing the pigments, then hair loses its colour and turns grey, white or silver. Greying usually starts in the mid-30s or later, depending on the person’s ethnicity.
Should you be worried about premature greying of hair?
No, hair greying up does not signal some underlying illness. Medical conditions do not include hair losing its colour as a symptom.
What leads to premature graying of hair?
Here are a few reasons that could be behind the untimely greying of your hair-
1. Your genes
This is the commonest reason for getting grey hair early. If your parents or their parents were affected by premature greying, then chances are there that it will happen to you as well.
2. An autoimmune disease
Sometimes in case of autoimmune diseases, your immunity starts attacking healthy cells because it mistakes them as harmful foreign invaders. If it kills the melanin cells of your hair, then your hair will turn grey. This may happen in people with vitiligo or alopecia.
Stress can usher in a number of illnesses. It can hurt your heart, ratchet up your blood pressure, or make your blood sugar soar. But, it turns out that stress does not spare your hair either. It has long been known that stress causes hair fall. But recent studies have found a link between anxiety and greying. The more the stress, the more your melanin cells deplete.
4. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Pernicious anaemia is an illness that is characterized by the body’s inability to absorb Vitamin B12. This vitamin is crucial for smooth blood supply to every part of the body. Your cells get oxygen from the blood and this oxygen helps them carry out their tasks. If your melanin cells do not get oxygen, they are not able to produce the pigments that give colour to hair.
Too much smoking can give you grey hair long before you turn 30. Tobacco smoke constricts your blood vessels. This means not much blood will reach different parts of your body. Without the oxygen present in the blood, your pigment cells will malfunction and your hair will turn grey.
Can you prevent premature greying of hair?
Preventing greying of hair only becomes possible if they aren’t caused by genetics. Genetic greying is irreversible.
But if people in your family do not exhibit this trend, there are a few things you can do to prevent grey hair from showing up.
- Do not make a habit out of smoking. If you do, quit immediately
- Take vitamin B12 supplements
- Eat healthily and exercise daily to reduce stress and stay fit
Greying of hair is nothing to be ashamed of. It does not reflect who you are. But if you are bothered by it, colour your hair or speak to a doctor.