Did you know hair graying has a link with ethnicity? On an average, you’ll see African Americans graying in their 40s, Asians graying in their late 30s, and white-skinned people showing signs of graying as early as in their mid 30s. So if you are graying earlier than you should, it is premature graying.
Hair is naturally colored by a pigment called melanin, which is released by special cells called melanocytes. As you age, the hair shaft and your hair follicles begin to wear down. Over time, the number of melanocytes decreases or they cease to function as effectively as before – and that’s when you begin to see signs of “graying.” 1 But premature graying can have several causes and risk factors.
5 Causes Of Premature Graying
1. Genetic Tendency
The tendency for graying early can be coded in your DNA. And in a study on 6,000 Latin Americans, scientists recently identified the gene – IRF4. It is the same gene that is responsible for light hair color in Europeans. Variations in this gene can tilt the salt-pepper ratio unfavorably.
2. Lack Of Certain Nutrients
Nutritional deficiencies of vitamin B12, vitamin D3, copper, and iron can all rob color from your hair. The lack could be because you aren’t having enough of these nutrients through diet (or sunrays, in the case of D) or you have an underlying condition that hinders their absorption – for instance, low stomach acid decreases B12 absorption.