Hair Care

Premature Graying of Hair: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Written by Dr. Suvash Sahu and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Premature Graying of Hair: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Graying of hair is a normal process as the age progresses, but if it occurs early in life it makes the person appear much older than his or her age causing poor self-esteem and personality issues.

The main cause of this graying is a reduction in melanin synthesis by pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes. These cells are present in the roots of hairs called as the hair follicle. The point when hair turns gray is not only decided by age (usually average age of graying is late 30’s to 40’s depending on the race), but it also depends on certain other factors like genetics and hereditary factors.

Causes for Premature Graying

The following are the main causes of drastic change in figures of the reported cases of gray hair in teenage.

1. Change in lifestyle:

  • Smoking - both active and passive.
  • Stress.
  • Excessive use of hair dryer.

2. Dietary habits:

  • Excessive intake of carbohydrates and sugary foods.
  • Nutritional deficiency like iron, iodine, vitamin, and proteins.

3. Pollutants:

  • Toxins in the atmosphere.
  • Chemicals present in the water that is being used to wash the hair.

4. Medical conditions like:

  • Thyroid disease.
  • Vitiligo.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency.

5. Certain drugs like:

  • Chloroquine.
  • Triparanol.
  • Dixyrazine.

How to Prevent Premature Graying

If other members of the family have experienced the same problem in their childhood that means you will have it in your genes too. There is nothing you can do as it is a natural process which may worsen with age. If premature graying of hair is not in your family, lack of proper nutrients is probably the main cause.

General measures to follow -

  • Provide your children with food rich in iron, vitamin B12, and protein like fresh green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, juices, white meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.
  • Avoid excessive intake of soda, cakes, candies, chocolates, and other foods that include refined sugar.
  • Avoid soaps and shampoos that are loaded with chemicals.
  • Apart from providing a healthy diet, it is also very important to check whether your children are suffering from any kind of disease like hypo or hyperthyroidism, pernicious anemia, vitiligo, etc.


Oral Calcium pantothenate 200 mg/day or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) 100 mg three times a day for two to four months may show variable responses ranging from 70 to 80 % depending on the case.

For more information consult a hair disorders specialist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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