Greying of hair is a milestone not many would be thrilled to cross. On the contrary, spotting those first few strands of unwanted grey hair can be shocking for those who least expect it. While hair greying is a natural process that usually begins when one is in their 40s, premature greying of hair can be a cause for concern for those who are still in their 20s and 30s. Although genetics and heredity play a significant role in determining the onset of greying hair, statistics indicate that late 30s are the average age of greying.
While in most cases premature greying is caused due to lack of nourishment and a well-balanced diet, it could also be caused due to factors like stress, medical conditions, and a reaction to chemical treatment. Here’s a detailed list of factors that contribute towards premature greying of hair:
1. Thyroid Disease
Hair strands owe their dark colour to a pigment called melanin, and hair start turning grey when the body stops producing this pigment. An overactive or underactive thyroid can severely affect the production of melanin in hair, which can lead to premature greying.
Genetics is one of the predominant factors that determine the age at which a person starts losing the dark pigment of their hair. It is variable for different people, that is, for some people, it can happen even before they turn 20, while for others the first grey strands can appear as late as when they are 40.
Our fast-paced and result-driven lifestyle can wear us down and shows its effects in the form of stress. Constant stress caused by demanding schedules produces hormones that reduce the melanin content in hair, thus causing premature greying.
Must Read: 8 Top Tips On Managing Your Stress Levels
In some instances, usage of chemical-based shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, hair treatments may directly affect the colour and natural lustre of your hair. Consequently, this can also result in allergic reactions that can speed up greying of the hair follicles.
5. Unbalanced diet
An unbalanced diet can lead to a lack of essential nutrients like vitamin B, iron, copper, and iodine. These elements provide the necessary nourishment to hair follicles, and their deficiency is one of the primary cause of premature greying of hair. Greying of hair is further accentuated by an excessive intake of alcohol and junk food, which is usually a bargain made for an unhealthy diet.
Tips To Avoid Premature Greying
1. Increase vitamin B12 intake
As discussed above, a deficiency of vitamin B12 is one of the primary reasons behind premature greying. It causes a condition called pernicious anaemia, and as a result, the hair starts losing its pigment. However, if the premature greying is caused due to vitamin B12 deficiency, then the condition can be effectively reversed by maintaining a balanced diet that gives the right amount of vitamins. This includes consuming more seafood, eggs, and meat. Further, dairy products like milk and cheese are also excellent sources of vitamin B12.
2. Check thyroid levels
While the thyroid gland has an impact on all vital functions of the body, it can also have a visible effect on the hair colour. An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism can also result in premature white hair. As a result, it is crucial to monitor your thyroid levels to make sure that it is not causing loss of your hair colour. While certain foods can impact the workings of the thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism is a severe condition that might require hormone supplements.
3. Avoid smoking
It is a point of no debate that personal lifestyle has a definitive influence on the health and colour of your hair. Smoking has adverse effects not only on the body but hair as well and could be a cause of premature greying. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)determined that smokers have a relatively higher chance of losing hair pigment as compared to non-smokers.
4. Have an antioxidant-rich diet
Loss of hair pigment can be accelerated due to oxidative stress, which is caused due to a lack of antioxidants in the body. Oxidation is a natural process that produces free radicals, and the production of these free radicals keeps increasing with age. This imbalance of free radicals causes hair to turn grey. Therefore, consumption of an antioxidant-rich diet may go a long way in preventing the occurrence of white hair. Foods like berries, grapes, green tea, and green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants and also help in maintaining the free radical balance in the body.
It is natural for hair to lose its natural colour and shine with advancing age, however, when it comes to premature greying of hair, it could be a warning sign that you’re not taking good care of yourself. While it can be worrisome, greying can be reversed with the right diagnosis and treatments. It is also important to note that if genetics or ageing cause greying, it is unlikely to change the process. Nevertheless, greying can be slowed down with a good hair care regime and a balanced diet.