These lifestyle habits lead to premature greying
Premature graying of hair can manifest as early as one’s twenties, and although traditionally associated with aging, recent scientific research highlights the substantial impact of lifestyle choices on this phenomenon.
One prominent lifestyle factor linked to premature graying is smoking. A 2013 study from the University of Jordan established a significant connection between smoking and the onset of gray hair before the age of 30. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke are believed to induce oxidative stress, damaging the melanocytes in hair follicles responsible for hair pigment.
Dietary habits also play a pivotal role, with nutritional deficiencies, especially in vitamins B12, D3, calcium, and minerals like copper, iron, and zinc, correlating with premature graying. These nutrients are crucial for melanogenesis, the process in which melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that imparts color to hair. Studies have indicated lower levels of these nutrients in individuals experiencing early graying.
Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal emphasizes the importance of diet for hair health, recommending foods rich in folic acid (found in dark leafy vegetables), vitamin B12 (present in egg yolk and dairy products), copper (abundant in sesame seeds, cashews, almonds, red meats, and whole grains), and zinc (available in dry fruits and seeds).
Stress has also been implicated in the graying process, although a direct link remains unestablished. Increased oxidative load due to psychological stress suggests that emotional factors may influence hair pigmentation. Poor sleep and chronic dehydration further exacerbate the risk of premature graying by impacting overall health and, consequently, hair vitality.
While genetics undeniably influence the timing and speed of hair graying, these lifestyle factors provide actionable insights for individuals looking to delay the signs of graying.