Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

Understanding The Causes Of Graying Hair

Gray hair is most visible in individuals with darker hair due to the fact it stands out, but women and men with typically lighter hair are just as likely to go gray. By the time you notice a few gray hairs, it may take the next ten years for all of your hair to turn gray or white.

What Factors Turn Hair Gray

This is a question that every adult has asked themselves at some point in time. Graying hair seems like even more of a mystery when you see a 30-year-old with a head full of gray hair and yet a 45-year-old with almost no gray hair.

  • Age: The age at which you will experience your first grey hair depends upon several things. One important influence is genetics. If your parents' hair turned gray at an early age, yours probably will too.
  • Diet: Another thing that can cause your hair to turn gray early is your diet. Lack of vital nutrients like vitamins, proteins, iron, etc. can bring about graying of hair at a very young age. Our hair is built up of 90% proteins, the cells in your hair follicles that produce melanin need the proper nutrients and hence, requires a balanced supply of it from the inside.
  • Smoking: Other unhealthy lifestyle practices can contribute to going gray much earlier than you need to. For example, it is thought that smokers go grey sooner than non-smokers. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that is available to the body and hair follicles, and that can be a detriment to health that could even cause your hair to turn gray over time.
  • Stress: Hypertension due to reasons like work and studies are widely responsible for the hair turning gray at a younger age.
  • Health: Medical issues can also cause premature gray hair. Conditions like thyroid problems and anemia can make the hair go grey much faster than it would otherwise. Common cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy can kill off healthy body cells, including those that produce hair color, and that could cause your hair to turn gray.

What To Do About Gray Hair

You cannot do anything to stop aging or change your heredity, but you can make lifestyle changes to help fight against the loss of natural coloration. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Vitamins: Maintain a proper diet. Add more protein into your diet. Make sure to get an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals such as Iron and Niacin every day. Eat more foods rich in iodine such as carrots, bananas, fish, and table salt (but not sea salt).
  • Quit Smoking: Eliminate smoking and other chemicals
  • Meditate: Manage your stress level, which affects hormone levels - again, it has not been proven if stress causes graying, but why chance it? Besides, stress is not good anyway, so it is a good rule to live by.
  • Healthy Scalp: Topical applications are the usage of coconut oil, almond oil, etc. being massaged onto your hair to improve blood circulation. In the long run, it is possible to stop the growth of gray hairs. However, this may take a very long time and much effort to get a desirable result.
  • Keep It Clean: Switch to a shampoo and conditioner which moisturizes your hair and keeps it soft. Your hair becomes drier and thinner with age, which may result in hair loss.
  • Turn Down the Heat: Reduce or eliminate the use of hair dryers and curling irons that remove moisture from the hair follicles.
  • Don't Touch: Resist the temptation to pluck gray hairs as the strands may not grow back.

At the end of the day, embrace and be confident in your hair and take all the steps to take care of yourself from the inside out. 

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