7 Reasons Why Grey Hair Happens — Even On The Young!

The surprising explanations that don't have anything to do with your age.

why grey hair happens
Image: Gabriel Silverio

Aging, a rational fear we all share, from men to women, to people of every age. On the list, maybe one of the first signs is grey hair. It’s normal for hair color to change, as people age and grow older. Grey hair can appear at almost any time in life, even if you are young. Even teenagers and people in their 20s may notice strands of white hair. According to Medical News Today, the human body has millions of hair follicles or small sacs lining the skin. The follicles generate hair and color or pigment cells that contain melanin. Over time, hair follicles lose pigment cells, resulting in white hair color. We here at Amodrn have outlined a few more reasons this may be happening to the young. Why do you get grey hair? Keep reading for more!

why grey hair happens
Image: Mitchell Hartley via Unsplash

Why Do You Get Grey Hair?

1) Vitamin deficiencies

According to Medical News Today, any deficiencies of vitamin B-6, B-12, biotinvitamin D, or vitamin E can contribute to premature graying.

2) Genetics

Premature graying of a person’s hair is largely connected to genetics as well. Race and ethnicity play roles, as well. Premature graying in white people can start as early as 20 years old, while a person can be as young as 25 years old among Asians, and 30 years in African-Americans populations.

3) Oxidative stress

While graying is mostly genetic, oxidative stress in the body may play a part when the process happens prematurely. Oxidative stress causes imbalances when antioxidants are not enough to counteract the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells, contributing to aging and disease. Too much oxidative stress can promote the development of diseases, including the skin-pigment condition vitiligo. Vitiligo may also turn the hair white due to melanin cell death or the loss of cell function.

4) Certain medical conditions

Some medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, may increase a person’s risk for graying early. In fact, research published in 2008 showed a connection between hair abnormalities and thyroid dysfunction. White hair is also common in alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin condition that causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and other parts of the body. When the hair grows back, it tends to be white due to melanin deficiency.

5) Real-life stressors

One study from New York University, reported in Nature Medicine, finds that the cells responsible for hair color can be depleted when the body is under stress. Other studies indicate that while stress may play a part, it is only a small part of a bigger picture where disease and other factors contribute.

6) Smoking

A study from 2013 reported in the Italian Dermatology Online Journal, shows that smokers are 2 1/2 times more likely to start graying before age 30 as non-smokers. A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology also demonstrated that smoking is linked to premature white hair in young men.

7) Chemical hair dyes and hair products

Chemical hair dyes and hair products, even shampoos, can contribute to premature hair graying. Many of these products contain harmful ingredients that decrease melanin. Hydrogen peroxide, which is in many hair dyes, is one such harmful chemical. Excessive use of products that beach hair will also eventually cause it to turn white.

why grey hair happens
Image: Joesph Chan via Unsplash

What Can We Do To Stop This Process?

There are a number of ways to fix or reverse this process, but ultimately your body will decide what it wants to do. Eating more antioxidants for one is key. This can include, fresh fruits, vegetables, green tea, olive oil, and fish. There are also many natural remedies like curry leaves. The medicinal use of curry leaves goes back centuries. When combined with hair oil and applied to the scalp, curry leaves can slow premature graying. Curry leaves retain black hair color and even prevent premature graying. Curry leaves can be purchased at Indian supermarkets, as well as traditional grocery stores.
If all else fails, heading to your nearest salon and getting some color or letting your beautiful greys flow naturally are also options!
While you’re here, check out what IGK’s master colorist has to say about seasonal hair color

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