Confronting Premature Graying: Expert Tips and Tricks

Stress stinks. This is not a surprise. Stress can be caused by work (or lack thereof), relationships, the current state of the world or your life. Stress has real effects. Stress can cause hair to become gray. Stress can lead to premature graying, which is when your hair turns gray before the age of 20 or 30.

There’s nothing wrong if your hair starts to gray prematurely. It’s natural and normal. But if you don’t want to accept it, you can still do something about it. You could invest in a multidimensional color, or adopt a healthy gray-hair routine.

Continue reading to find out the causes of graying hair, how you can care for the less pigmented strands and what you can do to prevent it.

Gray Hair Causes

Lacking Pigment

Gray hair is inevitable as we age. Robert Finney, MD, a board certified dermatologist and specialist in hair restoration, says that our hair follicles contain melanocytes or pigment-producing cell. Hair naturally cycles between growth and resting phase. “As we age, around 35 years old, the pigment producing cells produce less pigment, and eventually stop, resulting gray hairs.”


Blair Murphy Rose, M.D. is a board certified cosmetic dermatologist who specializes in hair rejuvenation. She notes that stress and other ailments, such as metabolic disorders and autoimmune diseases, can cause premature graying.

Marisa Garshick M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist who agrees with this statement, but adds a caution. Stress can cause graying of the hair, but more research is required. It may lead to oxidative damages, which damage pigment-producing cells and reduce melanin production.


Dr. Garshick says that genetics and age are major factors in graying. Reduced stress may not result in fewer grays. While it’s important to reduce stress for any health condition, there aren’t enough studies to prove that stress reduction will prevent gray hairs, says Dr. Garshick. This is true especially if premature greying runs in the family.

How to care for gray hair

Jeremy Tardo, a celebrity colorist and Clairol Color partner, says he’s noticed a rise in graying clients. However not all of them want to hide their hair. He says that some clients want their gray hairs covered while others prefer to blend them in with the color of their hair. A few even go for full-on grey.

You’ll need to use moisturizing products as your hair begins to lose pigment. The texture may change and the strands are more susceptible to drying. Tardo loves the Silver Shampoo by Sachajuan for cleansing. He recommends using it once a week in order to keep hair icy and bright.

Olaplex is his go-to treatment for conditioning. “Olaplex No. “Olaplex No. If you want a more customized regimen, you can consult your stylist before changing your routine at home.

How to conceal gray hair

There’s no way you can reverse graying, but there are many quality dyes that you can use. You don’t have to visit a salon to do the job.

Tardo suggests Clairol Nice ‘N Easy for DIY gray coverage. It’s a color range with a wide spectrum that’s easy to use and gentle on the hair of my clients. I’m very concerned that my clients have healthy hair when they return to me. Ask your stylist to add Bob & Shag Hair vitamin pack to your color mix for more nourishment and longer-lasting colour.

How to prevent gray hairs

Pulling out gray hairs may seem like an easy fix but it can do more harm than any good. If you don’t like your grays, then color them instead of plucking them. Dr. Finney emphasizes this before adding: “This can cause inflammation of the hair follicle and increase the risk of infection and ingrown hairs. Ultimately, over-plucking results in scarring and permanent loss.”

While there is no clear, scientifically-backed solution to preventing gray hairs, lifestyle changes may help. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and reducing stress could help.

Dr. Rose says that you may have read about certain supplements or vitamins that can delay premature graying. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Dr. Rose says that the best thing to do is to reduce stress, get enough sleep and eat well-balanced food.

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