Although the graying of hair is a natural and unavoidable process, there are many people who go through the transition much sooner than others. This is known as “premature graying”. Even though there are no harmful side effects, some people deal with psychological problems caused by premature graying. For many, it creates a fear of growing old and can also diminish a person’s self-esteem.
Premature Graying Causes
While the cause of this phenomenon has been debated for years, one thing is relatively clear, and that is the way in which it begins. In simple terms, as a person ages, the pigment that gives hair its natural color begins to decline, which ultimately results in the graying or whitening of hair.
Most medical professionals agree that the premature graying of hair largely depends on an individual’s genetic makeup. One of the best ways to find out if you might be susceptible to premature graying is to talk to your parents, since this is normally a trait passed down from generation to generation. But aside from genetics, there are other circumstances that have prompted a pause from physicians when it comes to premature graying, such as the factors listed below:
1. Vitamin deficiencies – Copper, zinc, and vitamin B12 play a huge role when it comes to nourishing hair and aiding in the metabolic process of giving hair its color. When a person is lacking in these vitamins and minerals, the strands will turn gray over an extended amount of time. Vitamins C and E are also essential for healthy hair.
2. Medical conditions – Thyroid disease, pituitary gland imbalances, Werner syndrome, and alopecia areata are all medical conditions that have been attributed to premature graying.
3. Lifestyle choices – People who are addicted to processed (“junk”) food are more prone to graying than those who prefer dining on healthier, vitamin-rich foods. Smoking can also make an individual’s hair turn gray much sooner than a non-smoker, since smoking causes the development of free radicals in the body. These free radicals create oxidative stress throughout the body and ultimately result in a decrease of the pigment needed to keep hair its natural shade.
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