Grey hair is not something that can be avoided – it happens for all of us as we age. It is quite normal to have at least half of the hair grey by the age of 50; however for some people greying of hair happens even earlier. When this happens a person might be feeling significantly older than their actual age. It is also important to mention that greying of hair happens quicker for some races than others. For instance most African-Americans begin going grey in their middle 40s while for Asians and white people it happens quicker – middle or late 30s. Scientists still haven’t figured out why this happens; however it seems that ethnicity makes a difference in how soon a person might start to go grey.
Heredity and Grey Hair.
One of the most commonly mentioned causes of premature grey hair is genetics. In case one of your parents or even grandparents experienced greying of hair early it is also highly likely that you will too. While there is not much that can be done for this particular cause, there are many other external factors that can be influenced by us.
Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies.
Deficiency of certain vitamins can be also directly linked to a condition of premature gray hair. In cases when greying of hair happens due to low levels of vitamins or minerals, hair color can be returned to its natural state as soon as deficiencies are resolved. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 is one possible cause of this condition. Some of the most important minerals for hair color are copper and zinc. All of these mentioned minerals and vitamins play an important role in metabolic processes associated with hair color. Due to this it might be worthwhile adding more foods to your diet that contain high levels of zinc, copper and vitamin B12.
Even though quite a lot of sources point out stress as a possible cause for grey hair, it actually hasn’t been proven fully yet. It is explained that stress might cause tension in the scalp and skin, which in turn interferes with nutrition supply to the hair and causes hair to go grey earlier. One of the studies, which was done by R. Lefkowitz, also showed that chronic stress might lead to DNA damage. This particular damage can enhance effects of aging, increase chances of having cancer and also it can affect hair pigment controlling genes. Although stress is not a major cause of premature hair greying, it might be still worthwhile paying attention to it.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Age.
Many people know about the use of Hydrogen Peroxide for bleaching hair; however not many are aware that it is also being made by our hair cells. Based on research the amount of HP produced tends to increase with age (and production of Catalase enzyme decreases), which in turn leads greying of hair. It is thought that Hydrogen Peroxide buildup in hair can bleach hair pigment resulting in hair becoming grey and then even white.
Certain lifestyle choices are also highly associated with greying of hair. One of these choices can be smoking. As it is quite well-known usage of tobacco products is related to free radicals development in the body. Free radicals can be very damaging for the whole body and they can cause oxidative stress. When this happens melanin capacity to produce melanin might decrease, which in turn can lead to graying of hairs.
The other factor that might negatively affect color of hair is diet, which contains high amounts of processed and junk foods. Eating foods that contain low levels of nutrients doesn’t provide your body with much value. It is important to follow a diet that would be rich in vitamins and nutrients because they provide your body with additional defense against free radicals. When your body has fewer antioxidant defenses compared to free radicals this state is being called Oxidative Stress. This type of stress tends to increase due to factors like stress, pollution and poor diet. Research on Premature Graying showed that people with this condition tend to have lower levels of antioxidants when compared to pro-oxidants. Due to this it is definitely worthwhile to pay more attention to Oxidative Stress and try to minimize it as much as possible so that hair color loss or other aging symptoms would be avoided.
Other Factors affecting Hair Color.
Premature graying can be a cause of certain medical conditions too. One of these conditions is called Vitiligo, which affects your skins ability to produce sufficient amounts of Melanin. While this condition mostly causes white patches on the skin it is also possible that they can appear on hair too, causing grey hair on scalp, beard and other parts of the body. Some other conditions that might affect a persons hair color are Anemia, Thyroid Disorder, Werner Syndrome and etc.