Hair graying – symptoms, causes and other risk factors

Hair graying

Hair graying is not unusual thing to happen. When we are aging, our hairs can start graying which depends on the genetic inheritance of the individual. Aging is one of the biggest causes why our hairs can turn to grayish. But if you have premature graying of your hair, then this condition is a reason why you should need to pay attention and to find the root cause of it. In this part we have concluded that graying is normal part of the aging process unless there is some underlying medical condition which is causing the lack of pigmentation. There are some medical conditions which can lead to graying of the hair. [1] These conditions are extremely rare and they are present in less than 1% of the population but they exist. The main symptom of this disease is the lack of regular thicker hair which is being allowed to exist. The grey and thinner hair has a chance to grow sooner and in more quick way compared to normal growth. This transformation is very fast but it is not happening just for one night. We know that the melanin which is pigment is responsible for the change of hair color. If some person has early graying of his hair, then this in the most cases is inherited from one of his parents or his grandparents. Gray hair can be also a result from stress [2]. Some person who is experiencing a stress for prolonged period and anxiety can notice, over a period, white hairs are gradually appearing on his hair. Tension, deep sorrow, shock, worry, malnutrition and other similar conditions may also slow down the production of melanin and this is resulting in gray hair. It is thought that this condition is linked to genes. If you have some family member that had premature hair graying, then you have increased chances of getting this condition.

Symptoms of hair graying

The main symptom of graying of hair is the lack of regular thicker hair being allowed to grow. Premature graying is a loss of hair color which is happening before the age of 35.

Hair graying

Causes of hair graying

Here are the most common causes of hair graying:

  • Heredity is also a predisposing factor [1]
  • Hydrogen peroxide: This product is a well – known tool for bleaching your hair. There are many people who do not realize that that their hair cells are also making hydrogen peroxide. As we are getting older, the amount produced increases and for which scientists believe that ultimately bleaches out your hair pigment which is turning your hair into gray hair and then it is turning into white hair. [3]
  • The lack of some of the B Vitamins, iron, copper and iodine in the daily diet is said to be a contributory factor
  • Smoking: There are many studies in which is said that there is a significant association between tobacco use and graying of hair. Also it is known fact that cigarette smoking is also linked to premature hair graying with the onset of gray hair occurring before the age of thirty. [4]
  • A faulty diet and mental worries are the two primary causes of premature graying of hair [2]
  • Vitamin B12deficiency: Also there are some studies in which is said that Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to premature hair graying and there is at least one report of pigmentation returning to hair after the deficiency of this vitamin was resolved. [5]
  • People who suffer from chronic cold and sinuses and those who use warm water for washing their hair are more likely to be victims of this condition
  • Oxidative stress: There are many scientists who are defining the oxidative stress as the state in which the free radicals (these free radicals can come from stress, poor diet, pollution, etc.) outnumber your antioxidant defense (which is coming from the healthy diet). Gray hair can be an indicator of oxidative stress induced damage. Also there are other studies in which is said that people who have premature graying of their hair had a higher level of pro – oxidants and lower levels of antioxidants compared with people who have normal hair. [6]
  • Other causes of premature hair graying are an unclean condition of the scalp, drying it with an electric dryer and use of hair dyes.


[1] Kumar AB, Shamim H, Nagaraju U. Premature graying of hair: Review with updates. International Journal of Trichology. 2018;10(5):198–203.

[2] National Institutes of Health. How stress causes gray hair. 2020. Retrieved from

[3] Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Why hair turns gray is no longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older. Science Daily. 2009. Retrieved from

[4] Zayed AA, Shahait AD, Ayoub MN, Yousef A. Smokers’ hair: Does smoking cause premature hair graying? Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2013;4(2):90–2.

[5] Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: A review. Dermatology and Therapy (Heidelb). 2019;9(1):51–70.

[6] Trueb RM. Oxidative stress in ageing of hair. International Journal of Trichology. 2009;1(1):6–14.



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