When you see a change in your hair color as you age, then it is perfectly normal. However, it is not okay if you see grey hair appearing at the early stages of your life. If you are a teenager or in your early 20s and you see white hair growing, it means something’s wrong. Underneath the skin of your scalp, there are millions of hair sacs or follicles present.
The follicles are responsible for producing hair and pigmenting or color cells, with melanin present in them. As far as the production of melanin is happening normally by your hair follicles, there is no possibility of grey hair. When this process of melanin production is disrupted by external or internal factors, you start seeing white hair coming up. However, this process is supposed to take place in the natural process of your aging.
Then why do you see grey hair growing on your scalp when you are not even that old? There are some factors that are responsible for the premature growth of white hair that you will learn here. You will also come across some suggestive prevention measures that you can follow to slow down the hair greying process.
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What are the reasons behind grey hair appearance?
Maximum of the times you will see that grey hair is appearing due to normal age-associated factors. However, you are getting white hair at an early age, it might indicate some sort of illness or abnormality. Some of the factors that can contribute to grey hair formation at a young age have been listed below:
Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is very important for your body as it is involved in the production of red blood corpuscles. Other contributions include maintaining the overall metabolic rate of your body and also the proper and healthy functioning of your nervous system. It is water soluble vitamin, and so it should be refilled even when your body can stock it in the liver. When you have unused or extra Vitamin B12 in your body, your system flushes it out through urine. However, as you age, you lose the potential to produce Vitamin B12 in adequate amounts that leads to its deficiency.
If you have Crohn’s disease or coeliac disease, you are more likely to lose the ability to produce Vitamin B12. Such kinds of gastrointestinal or digestive disorders degrade your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 from regular diets. If you are a vegetarian by nature, you will have poor absorption potential of Vitamin B12. This is because the majority of Vitamin B12 available from animal sources. You can actually revert the process of grey hair formation if you increase your Vitamin B12 intake.
If your thyroid gland is overactive secreting excess thyroid hormone, it may lead to greying of hair and Grave’s disease. It is obviously a premature occurrence but can be cured with radiation therapies. However, the effects and consequences are not quite clear yet.
Neurofibromatosis or Von Recklinghausen’s disease.
It is a cluster of diseases that you inherit, resulting in the formation of tumors along your nerves. This disease may also cause abnormality in the structure of your bones and skin, as well as premature grey hair.
This is a condition that results in the destruction and loss of melanin-producing cells called melanocytes. These cells are present at the base of your hair follicles that are responsible for your hair color determination. Vitiligo can happen if your immune system does not work properly, attacking the scalp cells than the invading infection.
Other causes for premature greying of hair:
- Genetic disorders: sometimes you might get grey hairs at an early age due to genetic predisposition. It means that you have naturally inherited early signs of white hair from your previous generations.
- Oxidative stress: it refers to the generation of free radicals inside your body cells, resulting in various kinds of unwanted problems. Premature greying of hair is one of them. To balance oxidative stress within your body cells, you need to supply your body with an adequate amount of antioxidants.
- Stress and anxiety: there is no medical proof on stress causing whitening of hair at early ages, but it does cause hair loss. Your hair does not just turn grey when you have immense stress. However, due to aging, your hair follicles do not produce melanin in the sufficient amount that it’s normally supposed to. When your hair goes through natural shedding and regeneration, it may show grey hair growth more likely in your 30s. Stress is likely to trigger a condition called telomere effluvium, where you shed hair thrice the times than during normal aging.
- Use of different hair dyes and hair conditioning products.
What is alopecia areata?
It is a disorder where you lose patches of your hair just like that, all of a sudden! It is a very abrupt disease but not random, since you majorly lose natural hair or the colored ones. It leads to ‘overnight greying’ of hair because the white hair suddenly turns out to be more prominent and obvious. When new hair starts to grow on your scalp, they are majorly the grey ones. However, colored hair can also return sooner or later.
Sometimes you may also experience premature greying of hair and loss of bone density due to a condition called osteopenia. It may also result in heart diseases apart from your hair and bone problems. Another most common cause for which you get premature white hair is excessive smoking of cigarettes or tobacco.
Ways for prevention:
- Have a diet that has high amounts of antioxidants present like green tea, fishes, olive oil and fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Eat foods containing more of Vitamin B12 like salmon, cheese, milk, seafood, meat and eggs (mostly animal sources). You may also take vitamin supplements if necessary.
- Quit smoking to bring down negative impacts on your body.
You may also use natural remedies like curry leaves, Bhringaraj leaves (false daisy) and Indian gooseberry to promote hair pigmentation. Natural remedies may slow down or even revert greying of hair.