Premature grey hair treatment: Dermatologist Guide

Grey Hair Hair

Premature grey hair treatment: Dermatologist Guide

“Doctor, I am getting grey hair at the age of 20. What causes premature greying of hair? Which treatment does a dermatologist recommend for premature grey hair?

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

What is premature greying of hair?

According to dermatologist textbooks, grey hair is 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 black skin.

It needs attention if you are greying in the ’20s or 30s. Read further to know the cause, treatment, home remedies, and other aspects of premature grey hair.

Suppose you don’t have the time to read, watch this video. I have highlighted the critical points in it:

What causes 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:

Nutritional deficiency is the most common cause of greying early. Various studies show significantly low levels of the following:

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


Premature greying is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, meaning either of your parents, siblings or close relatives should have grey hair early. In such cases, the reason is in your genes. Unfortunately, treatment might not reverse it.

Allergic tendencies: 

People with allergies go grey early. The allergy can be in any of these organs:

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

Autoimmune disorders:

Premature greying of hair is common in those with autoimmune diseases like pernicious anaemia or hyper- or hypothyroidism.

Premature ageing syndrome

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

Undue stress: 

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


The following drugs can cause premature greying of hair:

  • 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 a correlation with early greying of hair.

Environmental damage: 

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

Scalp diseases:

Inflammatory scalp diseases like psoriasis, lichen planus, allergy, etc., might damage hair’s pigment-forming cells. Hence, this leads to premature greying.

Consult a dermatologist to find the cause of grey hair if you are still in doubt.

How to prevent greying of your hair?

Change lifestyle

Lifestyle is the primary triggering factor of greying early. Recently, premature greying has increased because of bad lifestyle, stress, and environmental chemicals. We insist our patients on following the lifestyle given in this video:

Lifestyle changes have shown magical results in our patients.

Prevent further damage

Heat, sun, and 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 get 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 a cap, scarf or bandana in bright sunlight. Grey hair lack melanin. They can get damaged by the UV rays of the sun.

Hair colouring tips for grey hair


Grey or white hair does not take dye as quickly as normal hair. Also, hair colour can increase greying. Here are some suggestions:

  • Colouring at the 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 the relation between >90 hair dye applications and cancer. To know more, watch this video:

Dermatologist Recommended Products for Premature grey hair

Natural hair colour

Natural hair colours might not cover greys completely, But they are worth trying if your greys are less. Natural hair colour has the following herbs:

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



United States:

United Kingdom:

Home remedies for grey hair

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

  • Coconut oil and curry leaves: Curry leaves might blacken the grey hair. You can soak curry leaves in coconut oil for three weeks or boil them for 5-10 minutes at a low temperature.
  • Tea for black colour: For temporary black colouring, cook tea in water for a few minutes, strain and use the cold mixture to rinse your hair. 
  • Coffee for brown colour: For temporary brown colouring, boil coffee in water for a few minutes, strain and use the cold mixture to rinse 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. 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. The advantage of henna is that it is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions.
  • Ayurvedic oil Herbs like Bringraj, Amla, and Curry leaves stimulate pigment in your hair roots. Try these herbal products for grey hair.

Vitamin for Grey hair

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

If nutrition is the primary cause of grey hair, you will not get new grey hair. However, the existing grey hair doesn’t get re-pigmented. 

You have to take Multivitamins for three months, along with specific supplements to correct the deficiency of vitamins or minerals.

If you don’t want to consult a dermatologist, try one of these Best hair supplements for hair re-growth for three months. 

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

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

  • Osteopenia (low bone density later in life) makes one more prone to fractures(3).
  • Coronary artery diseases (heart attacks) are more in men with premature greying of hair. However, a similar correlation was not 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. Consult a dermatologist if you have unanswered questions.

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