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  • Dec 19, 2018

Graying of Hairs

Graying of Hairs

(Alternative Names: Canities, Salt and Pepper, Charcoal Hairs, Silver Hairs)


Hair graying is a part of natural aging process. Individuals presenting with graying of hairs by a decade or more than the usual norm for their racial characteristics are labeled as having premature graying.


Premature graying of hairs may cause significant concern, embarrassment, and social anxiety in some individuals and among their close circle which might interfere with their normal routine as also burden them with botheration and expenditure for seeking opinions and trying different remedies. Through this article, we have made an attempt to clarify certain myths around this condition and place facts before our readers so that they stay well informed and thus are better equipped to handle the situation.



Quick facts


It is a myth that graying of hairs means one has grown old.

Premature graying is seen in all races and in both genders all over the world.

The change in hair color from original color to colorless  occurs due to gradually diminishing pigment content in hair shafts

The age at which graying occurs in a particular race is determined by genetic factors. Graying  typically occurs in early thirties in Caucasians, late thirties in Asians, and mid-forties in African Americans

The condition could be related to certain diseases in which the disease fighting capacity of  body is not functioning in the intended fashion

It is not possible to reverse the condition



Features, Self Help, & Preventive Measures


Premature graying usually begins on the sides of head called temple area. The probability for a subject with both parents having suffered this change is greater than the probability seen if only one parent had the problem. The condition may progress very slowly over several decades or may spread rapidly. White Spot disease or Vitiligo and Thyroid disorders might be associated with the condition. One should also get checked for Vitamin B12 levels and get screened for certain malignant conditions. It can also be related to Alopecia Areata, a condition in which bald patches appear in the hairy areas. Stress may have an indirect role to play while smoking has been shown significant in causing the condition.


Gray hairs are thinner than the original strands and have lesser strength. Therefore, gray hairs need to be handled with greater care while combing, coloring, styling, and other hair care procedures.


It is incorrect to assume that plucking gray hairs is an effective remedy for premature graying. Gray hairs can be managed with alternate means like using hair dyes after due sensitivity checks, hairstyling with focus on keeping the hair short along with layering, and camouflage. Present state of advances in hair sciences does not offer any reliable means to prevent or reverse hair graying.





You are permitted to share, distribute, print, or reproduce this article for private use with proper citation of the source. The article is a part of our service to fellow human beings as a means of health education and awareness enhancement to minimize dependence on healthcare


Dr Vinay Kumar

Senior Consultant Dermatologist



+91-93 199 299 00



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