Over the years, premature greying of hair has become a matter of concern for many young individuals. Greying of hair is caused when your hair follicles stop producing melanin, the pigment that gives hair its colour. Previously, grey hair was linked directly to one’s age and was considered a sign of ageing. These grey hair would appear typically around the 40s, and in some cases, even later. But today, the picture is quite different. It’s not unusual anymore to see people in their early 20s or late 30s with grey hair on their head. Going by the trend, you’re lucky if you have hit the mid-30s and still have only one or two greys.
The process of premature greying of hair
Our hair follicles contain pigmentation cells called melanin, which is responsible for providing colour to the hair. The higher the melanin content in your hair follicles, the darker the hair colour will be. Similarly, the lower the melanin content produced by your hair follicles, the lighter your hair colour will be. As we grow older, there is a decline in the production of melanin, which decreases the intensity of the colour and ultimately loss of colour. Premature greying of hair is experienced when the melanin count reduces significantly at an early age.
What causes it?
One of the most basic reasons for having grey hair in your early 20s is because of your genes. In such cases, it is very difficult to do anything about it.
Hypertension, anxiety and stress are the chief causes of premature greying of hair. The hair you shed because of a stressful situation, such as chemotherapy, may grow back grey.
Deficiency of zinc, vitamin B, and copper also causes the early occurrence of grey hair. This is because these nutrients assist the metabolic process concerned with giving hair its natural colour.
The daily pollution that we encounter makes our hair strands dull and weak. With time, this also leads to grey hair.
Smoking leads to free radicals production in the body which leads to oxidative stress and a decrease in melanin, eventually promoting grey hair.
How can you deal with premature greying of hair?
The reversal of grey hair into black is largely dependent on the cause of the greying. If heredity is responsible, there is not much you can do to reverse the problem. However, if the reason is an underlying health concern, consulting a physician to see what can be done is the preferred course of action. Once the issue is treated, it may help restore pigment to your hair. However, this cannot be promised. Re-pigmentation is sometimes possible with the help of hormone therapy treatment. Another method to promote pigmentation is by taking pills or shots of vitamin B-12.
A proper physical examination must be done to evaluate the severity of premature greying of hair in different anatomical areas of the scalp in an individual. Based upon the age, genetic susceptibility, and nutritional state of the patient, a clear goal is set to identify the causes of grey hair and the solution on a personal level.