Your first gray hair is a rite of passage, a reminder that you’re getting older, wiser, and that you are blessed to be a vibrant human being. Like laugh lines, gray hairs are a totem of a life well lived.
Why your hair turns gray
According to the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, gray hair first appears in both men and women generally between the ages of 34 and 44. As for premature grays, those occur in folks under 20 and are largely genetic. As you may or may not know, your hair follicles contain pigment cells that produce melanin, which gives your hair its color. When your body stops generating melanin, hair goes gray, silver, or white. In layperson’s terms: your hair goes through natural cycles of falling out and growing back, and after age 35, it’s more likely to grow back in gray.
Stress may play a part, although don’t go blaming your kid or significant other for your new silver strands quite yet. Stress can make your hair fall out, but if you’re already going gray, the hair that grows back will be, well, gray.
“It is unclear whether emotional stress is truly associated with graying of the hair,” says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology in New York. “We know that stress can have physical effects, interfering with wound healing and promoting inflammation. We don’t know how significant of an impact it has on hair color, but I would not be surprised if one day a definite association is found.”
Here are 10 reasons your hair might be turning gray at a young age
1. You might have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
According to experts, a deficiency of vitamin B12 is the most common cause of early gray hair. It can also lead to thinning and loss of hair. To avoid this, make sure you include foods like eggs, beef, tuna, and salmon in your diet. You can also consume B12 as supplements.
2. There might be a lingering thyroid issue.
Your thyroid issues directly affect your hair follicles, according to research. If you’re experiencing early gray hair or abnormalities like brittle or greasy hair, it could be due to thyroid dysfunction.
3. You consume more junk than healthy food.
Not following a healthy diet can contribute to you getting those extra strands of gray. Various studies done on the matter have found that ferritin, calcium, vitamin D-3, copper, zinc, and iron can keep your hair healthy — whereas a lack of them can lead to early white hair.
4. You constantly worry about things and stress out.
Early gray hair has been linked to stress by experts. Being stressed out affects the stem cells that are responsible for the regeneration of your hair, leading to graying before it’s the right time.
8. You might have inherited them.
Yes, you might inherit those white hairs from your parents and grandparents. According to dermatologists, our genetics play a huge role in determining when we go gray. If someone in your family tree had gray hair early on, there’s a possibility that you might experience the same thing.
9. You may use hair products with chemicals and harmful dyes.
From shampoos to hair dyes, most hair products can lead to gray hair. Harmful chemicals present in them decrease the melanin level, ultimately making your hair lose its natural color.
Here’s what you can do to prevent it
- Protect your hair from sun damage. Cover your head whenever you go out, if possible.
- Avoid curling irons and hair dryers. Comb using a wide hairbrush.
- Massage your hair with coconut oil regularly.
- Include cabbage, kale, almonds, carrot juice, and broccoli in your diet.
Would you rather cover your grays or flaunt them like a diva?