Daily Health Tips: What Causes Early Greying Of The Hair?


Q: Good evening Doc. Please, can you explain what causes early greying of the hair and what can be done to reverse it? Thanks
A: Happy New Year, y’all!
Thanks for writing in.
Hmmm, this is a question we all wish we had answers to! I noticed my first smattering of grey hair a couple of years ago and because I had just taken on a new role with loads of responsibilities, everyone believed it was due to stress. I think my hair dresser noticed it before I did  She wanted to pull it out (it was just a single strand at that time) but I was having none of it 😀 I wanted it right there. I felt it was my badge of honour; it spoke to things I had been through and conquered. And so, I kept it…and it has now become a smattering of about 50 grey hair right in front of my head! But that’s me…everyone else thinks this is strange 😉 But right from an early age I have always admired people with grey hair.
Now, enough about me and my weird fascination for grey hair! Back to the question….
Most people don’t like grey hair as they believe it makes them look old. It is a natural process of life and at some point, we would all have grey hair…some earlier than others. Hair usually has the colour it does because of pigment-producing cells at the root of the hair follicles. Over time the follicles produce less pigment causing the hair to go grey. In other instances, naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide can build up in the hair, bleaching it.
The major cause of grey hair is getting older. This would usually occur around mid 40s for black people, late 30s for Asians and mid 30s for Caucasians. Premature greying happens before these ages and can occur even in children as the hair pigments just stop making pigments. This may not necessarily be associated with any medical condition. Genes play a role here and it could just happen. However, in some situations premature greying can happen due to anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition known as vitiligo, thyroid problems etc. So, you could get a doctor to check if you have any of these underlying conditions. Treatment of these conditions may help.
In other instances where a patch of hair just turns grey(poliosis), it could be due to the immune system accidently destroying pigment cells in a particular area of hair or due to genetic disorders. It could happen in children born without pigment cells in a particular area of their hair.
Is there a treatment? Not really. So you can work with a hair stylist colour your hair (permanently or semi-permanently), put in highlights or just style creatively.
You can go short and sport a nice trim hair cut that shows off your grey or ensure you have it looking nice and sleek….just like that woman I saw in church all those years ago! Sigh…she looked so distinguished! There I go, drooling again…
So, that’s it! No reversal…it’s just mask it or rock it 😀
Have a great day, y’all 😀

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