What Causes Gray Hair Prematurely in Men, Women & Children?

What Causes Grey Hair

What causes gray hair? Does stress cause gray hair? Learn more about what causes premature white hair in women, children, and teenagers. The article explores the effects of stress on your hair.

What Causes Gray Hair?

reasons of gray hair

There are two shades that define hair melanin. Eumelanin (dark brown or black) and pheomelanin (yellow or red). The combinations of these two shades create a uniform well-blended array of colors observed in hair. When hair lost some capacity of its melanin it turns grey and white when all melanin is completely lost. Some theories on what causes gray hair are still ridiculous and unproven.

It is no doubt that almost every human being goes grey at age 50 and above. Unfortunately, this is not applicable to every individual. There are cases where people of different races experience premature growth of gray hair at varied rates. For instance when a white person grow gray hairs in the twenties, then this is premature since according to statistics majority see this hair changes in their mid-30s

African- Americans under normal circumstances begin seeing silver in their hair in the 50s. Therefore, there are those who have more salt than pepper in their hairs before the mid-30s. This is an indicator of premature gray hair formation. Asians, on the other hand, experience this scenario at normal during their late 30s, anything below this signals a suspicion.

According to studies, hair is originally white before gaining its pigmentation. Melanocytes are cells found in the hair follicle responsible for the formation of melanin a substance that defines the skin complexity and the color of the hair. People with dark hair are said to have higher levels of melanin as compared to those with a lighter color of hair.


Premature Gray Hair – What Causes Premature Gray Hair?

Age is not always the causative agent for the graying of the hair. This statement is well justified by the observed gray patches of hair among young people. The following are the factors and reasons for the growth of gray hair among young men, women, children, and teenagers.


Hereditary (genes Inheritance)

There are people whose genes for premature white hair are transferred to their children and the next generation. If your mother or father grew gray hair in their youth, then you are at high risk of getting the same. When melanocyte stem cells produce an inefficient amount of melanocytes, the hair may end up being transparent or gray in appearance.


Can Medical Condition be what Causes Gray Hair?

Vitamin B 12 deficiency causes higher chances of gray hair. Pituitary problems are also said to be linked to premature greying of hair. Earlier on, there were studies that claimed this hair condition to be connected to lower bone density. This was finally disapproved by a group of researchers from California.

“Your level of bone density is related to activity level, your weight, your height, your ethnicity. It’s not related to your hair or the things controlling the color of your hair,” [Researcher Deborah J. Morton, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego]


Does Stress Cause Gray Hair?

reasons behind greying of hair

Can stress make you grey? It is still a debate as to whether stress can cause gray hair. Scientific researchers have disputed over this a number of times. “We have all witnessed the graying hair of many past presidents,” [Amy McMichael, MD, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.]”Perhaps over long periods of stress, there may be an acceleration of gray hair in some people.” According to her, there was no proof of this. “I don’t know of any studies showing this,” added Amy McMichael. “And I’m not sure I have a scientific answer.”

“Stress because you’re late to work or you’ve got a heavy workload is not going to cause you to lose hair,”[Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist with the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif.]

“Short-term, everyday stress is not going to affect your body in such a way that your hair falls out. It takes something larger to do that. “Something that causes you to lose sleep,” [Mirmirani], “or changes your appetite and raises the level of stress hormones.”

According to McMichael, there is truly no evidence that proves it really does stress cause grey hair. “There has been, for my entire life, this mythical connection between stress and hair. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”[McMichael] “It doesn’t even work that way,” she insisted.

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Why Does Stress Cause Gray Hair According to Some Studies?

“There is evidence that local expression of stress hormones mediate the signals instructing melanocytes to deliver melanin to keratinocytes,” [Jennifer Lin, a dermatologist who conducts molecular biology research at the Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center in Boston.] “Conceivably, if that signal is disrupted, melanin will not deliver pigment to your hair.”

“Graying could be a result of chronic free radical damage,” [Ralf Paus, professor of dermatology at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, Germany] According to Ralf, when stress hormones are generated systematically or locally there is a possibility of inflammation that enhances the generation of free radicals. “It is possible that these free radicals could influence melanin production or induce bleaching of melanin,” Paus claimed.

Therefore from the above-debated arguments from various schools of thought, the concept, “does stress cause grey hair,” is still not clear. To date, many efforts are made to support the hypothesis but the challenges are also clear on lack of scientific proof for that.

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What Causes Gray Hair in Women?

What Causes Grey Hair in Women

To this point of discussion, what causes gray hair in women is more or less the same as the knowledge on a page about what causes grey hair. In a nutshell, what causes grey hair in women besides age include genetic hereditary factors and Vitamin B 12. There is no clear indication as to whether stress is what causes grey hair in women. You can also read how to stop graying your hair.

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What Causes Gray Hair in Children (Kids or Teenagers)?

reasons of gray hair in children

It is quite often for some teenagers to experience grey hair. What causes grey hair in children, that is kids and teenagers can be related to genetic inheritance from the parents or a medical condition like lack of vitamin B 12. Hormonal changes at the attainment of puberty can also be another factor that explains what causes grey hair in children in adolescence.

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