What Causes Gray Hairs?

Graying of hair is mostly and traditionally considered a sign of physiological aging. This is a gradual process and takes time to develop full blown head of gray hairs. Age related graying of hair is an inevitable process that cannot be prevented. However, in some people graying hair is may not be a classic determinant of age. A lot of middle aged individuals or even adolescents can also develop premature graying of hair. The reason behind the early onset graying can be genetical or nutritional imbalances and deficits, even health related issues.



Grey hair is a natural process related with aging. The pigment that is responsible for your hair color is located at the shaft of hair which comes from a cell at the base (root) of hair. Those cells are programmed genetically to produce specific quantity of melanin (the dark pigment) in significant quantities. With time, just the productive capacity decreases in pigment producing cells like all other tissues of the body. Decrease in the production capacity or total quantity of melanin is the sole factor that leads to graying of hair. Red, brown and black hair are rich with melanin whereas white hair consist of no melanin at all. Gray hair has minimal and decreasing quantities of melanin.

Premature Graying

It is seen that hair of some people turns grey in their middle age. It is called premature graying and it can occur in childhood/ adolescent years as well. The reason behind is the cells which are responsible for producing melanin stops generating it. Premature graying of hair can also be related to other issues as well like alopecia areata, any thyroid disorder, deficiency of vitamin B12, anemia or vitiligo. It is recommended to consult your doctor for premature graying so that problem can be sorted.


When you experience a grey hair patch or a streak of white color, this is poliosis. This condition can happen in both children and adults. Doctors explain this condition as some children are born with hair follicles patch which has no pigment. In some cases, immune system of body accidentally deletes cells, which are responsible of generating melanin, in particular area. This problem is also related to certain skin disorders or inherited medical or genetic conditions as part of a syndrome like Waardenburg's syndrome and Marfan’s syndrome. Nutritional deficiencies and chronic allergies like sinus issues can also lead to premature graying of hair. The management of graying in all such situations is to correct the underlying medical condition and improve overall nutrition to haste recovery and cellular regeneration. Increasing the intake of antioxidants in this regard is fairly helpful.

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