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Premature Graying, What Is It and What Causes It?

What are the premature graying causes? Well, there are many factors causing premature graying, including genetics but also some diseases and disorders. White people usually start getting gray hair in their mid-thirties; Asians in their late thirties; and African-Americans in their mid-forties.

Therefore, graying is considered premature when it starts in the twenties for whites, and before thirties in African-Americans. In general, by the age of 50, the amount of gray hair is significant in 50% of people; men have more gray hair than women, and Asians and Africans have less gray hair than Caucasian people.

So, what determines hair colour, and what causes graying?

Hair colour is produced by cells known as melanocytes that migrate to the hair follicle during the development of follicles in the uterus. Besides, hair colour depends on the presence and ratio of two groups of melanin pigment: the first is eumelanin, responsible for brown and black pigments; and the second is pheomelanin, responsible for red and yellow pigments.

The difference in their ratio may result in a significant number of colours; however, siblings often have similar hair colour. Hair turns gray when the colour producing cells stop producing pigment.

However, graying itself doesn’t mean that you have a medical problem, except in some rare cases. Unlike the common belief, there's no evidence that stress, diet and lifestyle have anything to do with graying at all. Scientists didn't identify the cause of premature graying, but genes certainly play a big role in that, as identical twins get gray hair at the same time as well. 

What medical conditions may cause graying?

Some autoimmune diseases like vitiligo and ringworm, cause damage to melanin pigment and subsequently gray hair. However, those cases are not very common and they only explain a small proportion of graying.

In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid gland problems may cause premature graying; however, the symptoms of graying in the last case are reversible, and the problem can be solved. 

Since calcium plays a role in melanin pigment production, calcium and vitamin D3 levels and their link to graying have been studied by scientists: the results concluded that calcium and vitamin D3 levels were way lower than normal in patients with gray hair.

Some researchers had previously suggested even a connection between premature graying and lower bone density; but a study was done in California in 2007 among 1,200 women and men, showing that there is no such connection. Bone density is linked to activity level, weight and height, and it has nothing to do with hair neither controls its colour.

What solutions do I have to hide my gray hair?

There are many options to hide gray hair, including:

  • Semi-permanent colour: It lasts for several weeks and it's a good option for people who have just started seeing gray hair.
  • Hair highlighting: It helps blending gray colour with hair colour, and the outcome is a consistent and nice appearance.
  • Permanent colour: It is recommended when gray hair covers 45-50% of the hair.
  • Sprays: If you don't want to dye your hair but you still want to hide your gray hair, you can use a spray product that can be easily removed with shampoo. 

We have seen that premature graying causes can be very different depending on the person, medical conditions and also genetics. Usually graying processes can be easily solved or just hidden with some products. At Clinicana we have the finest solutions for this and many other hair problems you may experience; we are also the best valued hair clinic in Turkey: just check our Hair Transplant in Turkey: Reviews section... and don´t miss our free consultation service!