For the longest time, people have feared grey hair like a plague—like some disease that sucks out their youth. But it happens, and it’s not even a matter of age. Some people encounter their first silver strands in their 20s; some in their 50s. So what spells this difference?
By Dean Wissing – IMG_3814 copy, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3239227.
Why Do Grey Hair Appear Early?
Lack of melanin. Hair turns grey when there’s not enough melanin produced by the pigment cells in your hair follicles.
Melanin is the polymer responsible for giving the hair its characteristic color. When the body slows down or stops producing it, the naturally transparent base of the hair will continue to grow colorless—or pigment-less—thus appearing as grey, white, or silver.
Hydrogen Peroxide buildup. In other cases, the wear and tear of hair follicles as you age causes a hydrogen peroxide buildup. Such buildup manifests itself when hair becomes bleached, turning it grey (or white).
Stress. Although no established scientific evidence has yet proven that stress is a factor of premature graying, scientists are still on to it.
Stressed at work?
For now, we can say that white hair may not be caused by stress but best to err on the side of caution: Avoid stress at all costs as it may lead to other physiological outcomes worse than having grey hair.
Genetics. Grey hair has been mainly attributed to genetics and not to the natural ageing process as no evidence points to a specific age when your hair is supposed to turn grey.
Race, too, plays a big factor. Most Caucasians start seeing their hair turn grey at age 35; Asians at 40; and African-Americans in their mid-forties.