Premature grey hair treatment: Dermatologist Guide

“Doctor, I am noticing grey hair at a young age of 20, What causes premature greying of hair? Which is premature grey hair treatment recommended by dermatologist?

These are the questions, which I often receive in my dermatological clinic. Your hair turns white because of the decrease in the melanin (the pigment that imparts a black or brown colour to your hair). The admixture of black and white hair gives grey colour hue to your hair.

What is premature greying of hair?

According to dermatologist textbooks, grey hair are labelled as premature if they appear for the first time before the age of:

  • 20 in the fair skin.
  • 25 in the wheatish skin.
  • 30 in the black skin.


If you are greying at 20’s or 30’s , then it definitely needs attention

Read further to know the cause, treatment, home remedies and various other aspects of premature grey hair.

If you don’t have patience to read, just watch this video. I have highlighted the key points in it:

What cause of premature greying of hair?

Although the Internet has many causes for premature greying of hair, I am listing only those which have some evidence in dermatological literature:

Nutritional causes:

This is the most common cause of greying early.

Various studies show significantly low levels of following:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin D3
  • Ferritin
  • Copper


If your parents or siblings have premature greying, then reason is in your genes.


Premature greying is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. This means either of your parents; siblings or close relatives should have grey hair at an early age.

Allergic tendencies: 

People with allergy go grey early.

The allergy can be in any of these prgans:

  • lungs (asthma)
  • eye (allergic conjunctivitis)
  • nose (allergic rhinitis)
  • skin (atopic dermatitis)

Autoimmune disorders:

Premature greying of hair is common in those who have an autoimmune disease like pernicious anaemia, hyper- or hypothyroidism.

Premature ageing syndrome

Progeria and Pangeria are very rare cause of premature greying. In this case, other changes of ageing like wrinkling of the face, weak bones, diabetes, cataract, etc. are also evident at early age.

Undue stress: 

Daily stress cannot cause greying of hair. Undue stress (physical and mental) causes greying of hair.


Premature greying of hair can be caused by following drugs:

    • Chloroquine
    • Mephenesin
    • Phenylthiourea
    • Triparanol
    • Fluoro butyrophenone
    • Dixyrazine
    • Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor
    • Interferon-alpha

Medical disorders: 

Premature canities can also occur in diseases like HIV infection, Cystic fibrosis, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Smoking and substance abuse: 

Smoking and drug abuse have shown correlation with early greying of hair.

Environmental damage: 

Pollution, UV rays from sun, chemicals in hair care products, increase use of pesticides and insecticides etc. also grey you early. They create damaging reactive oxygen radicals. This oxidative stress leads to premature greying, ageing, and various other diseases.

Scalp diseases:

Inflammatory scalp diseases like psoriasis, lichen planus, allergy, etc might damage pigment forming cell of hair. Hence, lead to premature greying.

Consult a dermatologist for finding the cause of grey hair.

How to prevent greying of your hair?

Change lifestyle

Lifestyle is the major triggering factors of greying early.

Recently, premature greying has increased because of bad lifestyle, stress, and chemicals in environment.

We insist our patients on following the lifestyle given in this video:

Lifestyle changes has shown magical results in our patients.

Prevent further damage


Heat, sun, harsh chemicals can further damage grey hair.

Following hair care tips might help:

-Do not blow dry grey hair often.  Air drying is best for grey hair.

-Do not use hot iron for straightening frequently. Heat makes grey or white hair frizzier.

-Avoid hair wax. Regular use of hair wax for styling can damage hair.

-Avoid straightening procedures. The harsh chemicals used can trigger grey hair. If chemicals gets absorbed into the hair root, they might damage pigment-forming cells.

-Shampoos or spas can’t blacken greys.

-Do not expose grey hair to the bright sun.Wear cap, scarf or bandana in bright sunlight. Grey hair lack melanin. They can get protect damaged by UV rays of the sun.

Hair colouring tips for grey hair


Grey or white hair do not take dye as easily as normal hair. Also, hair color can increase greying. Here are some suggestions:

  • Colouring at saloon is better. A single session of hair colouring by a professional is better than multiple inefficient efforts at home.
  • Make sure that hair dye does not touch your scalp.
  • Get highlights to limit the exposure of hair colour to your normal hair.
  • Give longer gaps between the colouring sessions to avoid frequent exposure to hair dye. Studies are showing relation between >90 hair dye application  and cancer. To know more watch this video:

Natural hair color

Natural hair colours might not cover greys completely, But, they are worth trying if your greys are less, Natural hair color is obtains with following herbs:

  • Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis)
  • Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba)
  • Mooncake seed tree (Sterculia platanifolia)
  • Lotus tree (Zizyphus spina-christi)
  • Indigo

Many natural hair colour contains these herbs along with henna.



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Home remedies for grey hair

You can try following home remedies to either prevent or colour your grey hair:

  • Coconut oil and curry leaves: Curry leaves might help in blackening the grey hair. You can soak curry leaves in coconut oil for 3 weeks or boil them for 5-10 minutes at low temperature.
  • Tea for black color: Boil tea in water for a few minutes, strain and use the cold mixture to rinse your hair, this might give a temporary black colour to your hair.
  • Coffee for brown color: Boil coffee in water for a few minutes, strain and use the cold mixture to rinse your hair, this might give a temporary brown colour to your hair.
  • Henna: This is a natural hair colour that gives red highlights to black hair, but white or grey hair might get orange coloured. The advantage of henna is that it is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions. You can make a paste of henna in water boiled with tea or coffee to give a black and brown colour to your grey hair.
  • Ayurvedic oil Herbs like Bringraj, Amla, Curry leaves stimulate pigment in your hair roots. Try these these herbal product for grey hair.

Treatment of grey hair

Dermatologist consultation begins by finding the cause of premature grey of hair. They might order lab test to check levels of iron, folic acid, copper, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, thyroid hormones in your blood.

Multivitamin are given for 3 month. Also, specific supplement to correct deficiency of vitamin or mineral are prescribed. If nutrition is the major cause of grey hair,  then you would not get new grey hair. However, old grey hair would vanish only when they are replaced by new hair.

Multivitamins for grey hair

As pointed at earlier, iron, zinc, copper, iron, Vitamin D, calcium, Vitamin B12 are deficiency is implicated. A multivitamin with all of them can help in correcting mild deficiencies only. If deficiency is significant, talk to your doctor.

Perfectil skin hair and nail supplement for all of the above micro-nutrients. take ie for 3 month attest.

It is available online in following countries:

Do you have hair loss as well? Then it points to nutritional deficiency as cause for both.  In this case, prefer this list of Best hair supplement for hair re-growth. These supplements are safe. Still check for contraindications or allergies to any of the component used in these supplements.

Is premature greying of hair associated with bone or heart diseases?

Though studies have still not proven significant correlation, there is evidence that people with premature greying of hair might develop:

  • Osteopenia or low bone density later in life. This means that they might be more prone to fractures(3).
  • Coronary artery diseases or in simple language heart attacks is more in men with premature greying of hair (no such correlation was found in the case of females). Thus, a healthy lifestyle and discussion about the same with your doctor cannot be overemphasised (45)

In the end, I hope this article was helpful. if you have further questions, would request you to consult a dermatologist.