Grey hair: Three deficiencies cause premature whitening - but colour can return

hair care

Washing hair sparingly could help maintain the appearance of hair

Solen Le Net

By Solen Le Net

Published: 21/02/2024

- 14:47

Updated: 21/02/2024

- 14:51

Understanding the root cause of hair whitening could be key to delaying the process

Cutting-edge technology has taught humans a great deal about the intricacies of the ageing process, but some biological processes continue to evade science.

Among them is hair whitening, which affects some individuals earlier than others and is seemingly impossible to reverse.

Although white and grey strands can emerge at any age, certain deficiencies may drive the process earlier than expected.

Research published in the Journal of Developments in 2015 noted that deficiency in vitamin D, vitamin B12 and copper affected the pigmentation of hair.

man dying hair

Hair greying is seemingly impossible to reverse


One promising finding from the study was that hair colour returned when subjects adhered to vitamin supplementation.

The research sparked widespread conversations about the signs of ageing and how to delay or reverse them.

Ruby Jo Lomax, hairdresser and founder of hair education, RJL Education, told GB News: “Delaying the greying of your hair is a tricky one and it’s unfortunately mostly out of our hands.

“But there are a couple of things you can do that are widely accepted as being beneficial to the process."

One promising finding from the study was that hair colour returned when subjects adhered to vitamin supplementation.

“In terms of haircare itself, treating your hair properly in general will certainly help avoid those greys popping in early.”

The expert advised against everyday products with harsh chemicals and encouraged a healthy washing routine.

“Using heat-based styling tools and lots of hair dye also apply here, to keep the use of these to a minimum when you can,” she said.

taking supplements

Supplementation in nutrient-deficient individuals could encourage air colour to return


Some years ago, evidence emerged that the fight-or-flight response was also associated with the greying process of hair.

It is now accepted that hair colour, influenced by pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, declines more rapidly in people subjected to stress.

“Outside of haircare, the most common advice is also some of the best - avoid stress,” noted Ruby. “High stress levels deplete the level of pigment-replenishing cells in our scalp and once they run dry there’s no coming back.

“The worst thing you could do when it comes to delaying grey hairs is to stress about it in the first place!”

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