Consult Online With India's Top Doctors
Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments
Change Language

Premature Graying - Understanding the Causes Behind it?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MD (Skin & V.D. MAMC) - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Delhi  •  21years experience
Premature Graying - Understanding the Causes Behind it?

Premature gray hairs haven’t spared even celebrities. An American reality television personality, Kylie Kristen Jenner at the age of 18 has discovered her first gray hair. Her belief is that it may be hereditary as her elder sister also experienced gray hair at the age of 20. The premature graying of hair has become quite common now and is increasing at an alarming rate.

Insight on Premature Graying        

Colour producing cells produce pigments. If it stops, your hair becomes gray. Ideally, it’s a natural process with age, where the pigment production declines.

Ideal Age of Graying Hairs

Usually, Asians develop gray hair during the late 30s, while whites develop it in mid 30s. So, by the time you reach 50, you have enough of gray hairs. If anyone experiences graying prior to this age, it can be declared as premature.


Although reasons are not clearly known, common causes could be genetics, smoking habits, your diet and vitamins.

  • Hormonal imbalance, be it hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, may lead to ageing.

  • Another reason could be your level of bone density as well as it is related to your activity level, weight, height as well as ethnicity.

  • Deficiency of vitamin B-12 leads to pernicious anemia, where production of red blood cells decreases. This leads to thinning and graying of hairs.

  • Deficiency of vitamin C and E reduce antioxidants in the body, thereby, increasing free radical activity. Hence, ageing process accelerates.

  • Deficiency of vitamins B5 and B9 also accelerates the ageing process as these help in the utilisation of protein in the body. Lack of vitamin B9 leads to decrease in the number of red blood cells and deoxyribonucleic acid.

  • Lack of zinc and copper could also lead to graying of hair.

  • Pituitary or thyroid gland problems can cause premature graying, which can be corrected with measures.

  • Smoking is one of the sources of free development of radicals in your body, which cause oxidative stress. This may lead to decline in the pigmenting capacity and melanin, which result in graying of hairs.

  • Consumption of junk food and processed food may increase oxidative stress and deposition of Advanced Glycation End products. This accelerates aging.

Lifestyle plays an important role in one’s life. It’s all about your appearance. Graying of hair symbolises ageing irrespective of your actual age. Of course, if it’s due to genetic factors, one cannot help it other than experience it. However, other factors are avoidable and treatable. All you need to do it eat right, have beauty sleep and avoid unwanted habits. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist and ask a free question.

4831 people found this helpful