As women, we all fully expect to go gray one day. It’s almost a rite of passage, after all. However, we all can agree that our 20’s are much earlier than anyone anticipates. If you are spotting those pesky silvery strands in your mane and you haven’t hit your 30th birthday yet, you probably have some questions. Question number one: Why?
Hair Graying Early
First off, let’s discuss quickly what is happening when hair turns gray. As bodies age, so do hair follicles. When hair is gray, what you are seeing is a loss of pigment cells. The hair is losing color and becoming more transparent. Everyone’s hair eventually grays, for one reason or another. Typically, grays pop up in our 30’s or later. Graying is considered premature, however, if it shows up in the 20’s or earlier.
Is Stress Causing My Hair To Turn Grey?
There’s an old cliché that stress can cause hair to gray. We all can recall a moment when our mother told us, “You’re giving me gray hair!” She was exaggerating, of course, but she isn’t entirely wrong. In 2013, a study at New York University sought to find a connection between stress and gray hair. They found stress could interfere with melanocytes, which are stem cells responsible for hair color. Not all scientists are convinced of this theory. Still, it’s worth it to reduce stress in your life regardless.
Smoking can cause premature gray hair. It’s 2019. You have heard it a million different ways from a million different sources: smoking is bad for your health. It affects almost every aspect of your body, including the color of your hair. In 2010, a group of researchers compared the hair of smokers and non-smokers. The conclusion? There is a strong correlation between smoking and gray hair before the age of 30. Throw out the cigarettes and save your shade.
Medical Reasons for Graying Hair
Gray hair could also signify an underlying medical issue. Premature grays aren’t desirable, but, in this case, they could be helpful in letting you know you need to get checked out. Premature grays could stem from a malfunctioning pituitary gland or thyroid. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been known to cause grays.
You could also have a vitamin deficiency. Having low B12 or Vitamin D levels can turn those strands gray.
Both of these can be remedied with supplements or, in the case of Vitamin D, just getting some more sun. Adjusting your levels won’t change your grays back to your natural color, but it can prevent any more grays from sprouting up.
Lastly - and I am so sorry - it could just be in your genes. When did your parents go gray? What about your grandparents? If they were quick to gray, it may just be your destiny. It’s hereditary. This cause isn’t reversible. You can’t prevent it. You don’t have to be ashamed, though. Gray will come for us all; you have a leg up!
When did you spot your first gray hair? What did you do? Tell us in the comments!