If you've ever stared into the mirror and spied a few white hairs on your head, you may have worried that you were starting to go gray. Gray hair isn't just for the elderly -- it sometimes develops prematurely for people in their 20s or 30s. The age that you'll turn gray is largely based on genetics. It's not possible to completely prevent hair from turning gray or white, but you may be able to slow down the process.
Stop smoking if you're currently doing it. Smoking can cause hair to turn gray prematurely, according to a study published in 2013 in the "Indian Dermatology Online Journal."
Eat a balanced diet containing protein and plenty of vitamin-rich foods. A poor diet may affect the production of melanin, the pigment that colors hair. A deficiency in vitamin B12 or protein may cause gray hair. Include milk, eggs, poultry, red meat and fish in your balanced diet. If you can't get enough nutrients from your diet, consider taking a multivitamin to help meet your needs.
Condition your hair every other day with an antioxidant conditioner. This may guard your hair against UV rays, which can cause hair to look dull.
See your doctor to find out if you have a condition that causes graying. Hair might lose color if you have a thyroid problem, vitiligo, tuberous sclerosis, alopecia areata, folic acid deficiency or neurofibromatosis, also known as Von Recklinghausen's disease.
- U.S. News: Gray Hair at 25? Yes. Here's What You Can Do
- Today: Going Gray? Don't Hide It--Own It
- KidsHealth: Vitamins
- Indian Dermatology Online Journal: Smokers' Hair: Does Smoking Cause Premature Hair Graying?
- MSN: Why Does Hair Turn Gray?
- Library of Congress: Why Does Hair Turn Gray?
- Real Health: Going Gray
- Scienceline: I'm 24 and Have Gray Hair! What's Going On?
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Folic Acid Deficiency