Premature Greying

Premature Greying

Grey hair or canities is a natural process of ageing. Premature greying has been a profound concern for young and middle age individuals from ancient civilization. In spite of extensive research in the field, the exact pathogenesis of premature greying remains elusive.
Premature greying appears to be alone as the autosomal dominant trait and it can also take place in the mode of any disorder
However, the genetic aetiology of grey hair is still unknown.
Despite extensive molecular research being carried out to understand the pathogenesis of canities, treatment options still remain unsatisfactory and no effective therapy is available.
Premature greying is a feature in a number of well recognised syndromes such as Werner’s syndrome, Rothmund-Thomsen syndrome and others, but most cases occur independently as an idiopathic condition.
Premature greying is a qualitative and quantitative alteration in melanin synthesis,with hair follicles turning grey earlier than would be expected. In contrast to cantis paribus, the age at which an individual’s hair begins to turn grey is noted for its distribution according to a normal curve, without peaks or mounting incidence predicted by either genetic or environmental factors.
The chromatin of the hair depends on the presence and amount of melanin. Melanin is synthesised in the matrix cells of the hair follicle, in specialised organelles called melanosomes.

Premature Greying

What is Premature Greying?

Going grey is just a natural part of the ageing process. Every hair follicle contains pigment cells, which produce melanin — the pigment that gives hair its natural colour. Over time, those pigment cells die, leaving behind strands of grey, white or transparent hair.

Premature greying of hair (PGH) is called greying of hair before the age of 20 or 30. Greying of hair is also said as achromotrichia or canities as well. Premature greying causes severe affection on an individual.

‘Canities’ is a term used to describe greying of hair, which is one of the most visible and frequent signs of ageing. The clinical presentation can vary from premature canities (that develop at less than 20% years of age), salt and pepper canities (with gradual appearance of grey hair), or premature canities that occur genetically even at an earlier age.

Premature greying of hair (PGH) is defined as greying of hair before the age of 20 in Caucasians and before 30 years in Africans and Asians. The actual age at which greying appears,: however, is largely dependent on the genetic and environmental factors. Premature greying can be an important determinant for the diagnosis of a variety of diseases ranging from endocrinopathies to vitiligo.

While vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases have long been investigated for their association with PGH, research in recent years has also emphasised on its link with a wide spectrum of other disorders such as thyroid disease.

Moreover, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, nutritional deficiency, parasitic infestations, lead poisoning, pernicious anaemia, Addison’s disease, psoriasis, alopecia areata, systemic lupus erythematosus and tumours. There is also poor evidence of PGH being linked to Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, Wilson’s disease and Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Premature greying, which is uncommon in those under 30, is characterised by more than 50% of hairs turning grey. There are many factors that may cause premature greying., including genetics and stress.

Premature greying causes an increase of low self esteem, and also gives rise to a lot of adjustment in social or cultural gathering. The relation of greying is directly related to your age and can also come in any of the individuals despite their age and gender.
Premature greying is a matter of concern for many people. Before you worry about turning prematurely grey, you need to know what causes of premature greying are and how they can be prevented.

Causes of Premature Greying in Men and Women

There are a lot of factors which come into play such as heredity, excessive chemical treatments, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, smoking and/or chemical allergies.when it comes to premature greying lets understand them one by one.

Passing On With Genetic Factor

Genetics leads to the study of heredity and genes of Ancestors. It states, some of the other factors in our body are similar to our ancestors which comes into DNA Sequence. Gene have free factors such as Single gene, chromosomal and multifactor. Genetic factors can also lead to premature greying. If there was a history with family then yes there are chances of premature greying.

Deficiency in Nutrition

Most of the cases of premature greying of hair are due to a deficiency of Vitamin B12 and vitamin B3. A peculiar reason for hair greying is Folic Acid deficiency. Deficiency of Folic Acid in children leads to premature greying. Grey hair at an early age (below 20 years) is seen to be hereditary in most cases.

Sometimes, low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to premature greying of hair. Causes of premature greying of hair are both internal and external. Internal causes include infections, disorders and syndromes. External factors mainly include poor diet and lifestyle habits.

Certain Diseases

Vitiligo, neurofibromatosis and hypothyroidism are some diseases that can affect the colour of your hair, often leading it to grey prematurely. Get to know more about the causes of premature greying here.

Intake of Medicine

Some medications, like chloroquine and mephenesin which are used to treat malaria may cause your hair to turn grey. Topical applications like dithranol, chrysarobin and resorcinol used for the treatment of psoriasis are also known to cause premature greying. If you think any of these medications might be causing your hair to turn grey, talk to your doctor about adjusting or replacing them.

Thyroid Issue

When there is an issue in the thyroid gland, it can likewise lead to premature greying. It is important to regularly check your thyroid levels and have a healthy lifestyle in order to keep the thyroid properly functioning and avoid this occurrence. Abnormal thyroid functioning can cause premature greying of hair.


Smoking isn’t good for your health or your appearance. If you smoke, you’re at a greater risk of developing lung and heart disease. These conditions affect the vital organs that help circulate oxygen to the body—including your scalp. Premature greying of hair is one such sign that you may be suffering from deteriorating lungs and heart disease.

Diagnosis of Premature Greying in Men and Women

Nothing can stop or reverse the process if it is caused by genetics or ageing. However, if the loss is caused by a medical condition, treating greying hair may allow colour pigmentation to return.
When a poor diet and a lack of vitamins are the root causes of prematurely white hair, correcting these may reverse the problem or prevent it from worsening.

Know Your Deficiencies

An individual who has greying of hair in their early stage first should know their deficiencies by consulting a doctor. If there are vitamin deficiencies then he/she should consume a lot of food containing more vitamins. Such as Eggs, Seafood, Meat as they give vitamin B12 which is essential when you have grey hair and salmon, cheese and milk are the best foods for Vitamin D deficiency. Always eat antioxidant rich food such as fresh vegetables and fruits, olive oil, green tea, etc.

Eliminate Smoking

Smoking has an adverse effect on the growth of your hair and also it badly affects your body. There is a direct connection between your smoking habit and loss of hair.

Consult an Expert

Moreover, consulting an expert will help prevent premature greying and reduce it. But you need to first concern expertise to identify your cause.

⦁ If you are keen to understand the reason behind premature greying, the attending trichologist would start by examining your scalp and hair.

⦁ In addition to this, the trichologist might examine other parts of your body as well. You will also be asked to answer a few questions regarding any medication or treatment that you might have undergone in the past. If required, a sample of your blood can also be taken for further examination.

⦁ Patients will begin to exhibit signs of premature greying from their mid-20s on. This can sometimes be attributed to other expressions of autoimmune manifestation, including vitiligo.

⦁ Diagnosis completely depends on an individual’s genetics. So, firstly identity the reason behind the white hair

⦁ Amino acids and vitamins B complex internally, along with sun exposure. Iron supplements if needed.

⦁ Young individuals’ hair is mostly black, dark brown or natural brown in colour. It doesn’t mean that the young aged individual is not to suffer from premature greying of hair. Sometimes, the grey colour starts appearing into the hairs at that time when it starts growing on their head. In this case, the grey hairs grow out and new black and healthy ones replace them. The colour changes are usually seen after 2-3 months and white hair may start appearing.

⦁ The treatment begins with an initial consultation for detailed examination to establish the reason for white hair. Here, the doctor will identify the symptoms to be cured and understand the family history of premature greying.

Premature Canities- A Treatment to Premature Greying

Greying before the age of 40 is a significant reason for low self-esteem and can interfere with the adjustment to a changing society and culture. The beginning and progress of premature canities or greying correlate closely with the progression of chronological age and can be seen in different levels in everyone eventually, regardless of gender or race.

The premature canities may manifest due to an autosomal dominance issue or in conjunction with other disorders of premature ageing or autoimmune. It must be distinguished from the various genetic hypomelanotic hair diseases. The reduction in melanogenic ally active melanocytes within the bulb that produces hair of hair follicles that are grey, which results in loss of pigmentation, is the main cause of greying.

The melanosomal transfer defect to cortical keratinocytes as well as melanin incontinence resulting from melanocyte degeneration is believed to be responsible for this. The white hue of the calves is believed to be an optical phenomenon; the reflection of light reveals the natural pale yellow hue of hair Keratin.

A full range of colours from normal to white may be observed on both individual hair and between hair and hair, and the admixture of pigmented as well as colored hair is thought to create a grey-looking appearance. Hair greying is typically permanent and progressive; however, there have been stories of spontaneous repigmentation occurring in grey hair.


Treatment for hair that is prematurely greying is done to stop and reverse the process of greying. Different treatment options for premature greying of hair are:

Treatment and Medication: Your physician may prescribe gels, creams or shampoo, or oil for topical application to your scalp and hair. There are some methods of therapy that have been developed and patented that might be recommended by your physician based on your health. The cost of treatment for grey hair may differ from city to city and condition to condition.

Diet: A nutritious diet that has balanced amounts of all the nutrients is vital for completing every hair-care treatment. Protein-rich food items and foods high in vitamins like Vitamin D-rich foods, minerals, and iron do help in treating premature greying of hair but also aid in preventing the process from progressing to a greater degree.

Lifestyle Modifications: Healthy lifestyle choices such as abstaining from drinking, quitting smoking, as well as managing your stress levels are essential components of treating premature greying of hair. Avoid harsh treatments such as hair styling products that contain chemicals and the application of heat to your hair.
In short, regardless of how many homemade or other solutions you experimented with in the past, if your hair is not healthy and strong on the inside, the grey hair will appear every now and then. Thus, the primary focus must be given to your lifestyle and food habits.

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