What Causes Gray Hair?

Hair and Scalp

Ian C. Langtree - Content Writer/Editor for Disabled World
Published: 2009/03/22 - Updated: 2024/04/09
Publication Type: Informative
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Causes of gray hair is not always related to ones age as hair can turn gray as young as teens and range into our late 50s. When your body stops generating melanin, hair presents itself as gray, white, or silver. If you are deficient in B12, or suffer from a thyroid imbalance, it can also cause your hair to go gray.


At some stage in our lives, both men and women will experience the on set of gray hair. Blame your family tree, as the main cause for hair turning grey is heredity. If your mom or dad started going gray at a young age then the chances are you may also have premature gray hair.

Main Digest

Contrary to popular belief graying hair is not always related to ones age. Gray hair can occur as young as in our teens and range into our late 50's and even older. Some people start to gray in their early 20's or 30's; this is called premature graying. Their gray hair may look the same when they are older as it did in their 20's or 30's. Some that come to mind are Taylor Hicks from American Idol or Steve Martin, the comedian. Other people do not become gray until they are in their 50's or later.

Initially Hair is White

Everybody is different but the pigment of our hair is generated in the same way. The cells in our hair follicles called "Melanocytes" generate pigments the main one being Melanin. This gives our hair its "Color". In general, the more melanin present, the darker the hair color; the less melanin, the lighter the hair color. When these Melanocytes stop producing the pigment the result is a transparent hair. The transparent hair against your healthier darker hair gives the appearance of Gray hair. In reality the hair is not gray but transparent. Harvard scientists propose that a failure of melanocyte stem cells (MSC) to maintain the production of melanocytes could cause the graying of hair.

Continued below image.
Close-up photo of the back of a male head showing wavy gray hair and the beginning of baldness.
Close-up photo of the back of a male head showing wavy gray hair and the beginning of baldness.

Gray Hair Facts

Can hair can turn gray over night?

Hair turns gray slowly over time. As you get older, the production of your color pigment slows down and gray hair begins to appear.

Can you get grey hair from a fright or psychological shock or trauma?

Studies have shown that if this does happen then it's typically due to Alopecia areata. What happens here is that the thicker, darker hairs stop growing before it effects the growth of Gray hairs, giving the impression of Gray hair overnight.

Hiding Gray Hair

There are a number of choices for concealing gray hairs including:

Preventing Gray Hairs

Does Melancor work to prevent gray hair?

If you do want to prevent or reverse your gray hair then you can take a tablet called Melancor. This is a new product on the market and works in two ways.

a) Firstly when you get gray hair you have a genetically based tendency to produce less melanin as body pigments. Melancor triggers Melanocytes which helps overcome this tendency by increasing you body's ability to produce melanin pigments.

b) Secondly Melancor exerts a profound "Melanocytes" action whereby it mobilizes stored melanin, moving it out of the hair cell and thereby increasing the number and size of the hair strands and pigments in your natural hair color.

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Disabled World is a comprehensive online resource that provides information and news related to disabilities, assistive technologies, and accessibility issues. Founded in 2004 our website covers a wide range of topics, including disability rights, healthcare, education, employment, and independent living, with the goal of supporting the disability community and their families.

Cite This Page (APA): Langtree, I. C. (2009, March 22 - Last revised: 2024, April 9). What Causes Gray Hair?. Disabled World. Retrieved July 20, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/health/dermatology/hair/gray-hair-causes.php

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