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Grey/White Hairs at Early Age

Q: I am 19 and I have noticed in the past few months I have been getting white head hairs and have had grey/white hairs in the groin area for a while. I was wondering if you know of any good natural supplements to repair the white hair to turn brown again. I am not sure if it’s hereditary or if I have any condition that may cause this. Do you know any solutions to this problem? It strikes me odd to be having this problem at such an early age. If you could please give me some feedback I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for your help.
 
A: Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but there is no “miracle treatment” for turning gray hair back to your natural color if this is simply a matter of genetics. It’s certainly uncommon for someone your age to be developing gray hair, but not unheard of. In fact, one of my dearest friends had a head liberally salted with gray while still a senior in high school (at 17). He used to be bothered by it until I pointed out that another friend of ours was completely bald by the time we graduated. Apparently, having your hair turn gray is preferable to having it turn loose for many men.
 
      There are many causes of premature graying of the hair. Illness, stress, poor diet/vitamin & mineral deficiency, and certain medical treatments can all be responsible for the hair turning gray. It can also be a simple matter of your genetic encoding dictating that your hair will begin graying at precisely this point in your life. If you think there’s a chance that this isn’t hereditary, you should consider seeing your doctor or dermatologist and talking with him about the possible causes for your graying hair. If you’re not concerned that it could be a medical or nutritional problem, your best recourse is haircolor.
 
      Using a deposit-only haircolor a few shades lighter than your original color will blend the grays you have away as minimal as they are right now (up to about 10% gray). As the gray hair becomes more prolific, you can use haircolor shades that are closer to your natural color. The alternative is to embrace the gray. You may be one of the few people whose hair goes completely white, which can be a striking look.
 
      (If you want to pursue coloring your hair to cover the gray, please review our articles on haircolor. We have detailed information for selecting haircolor for every level of gray.)
 
      Try not to buy into promises made by many of the “Natural Remedies” you see advertised. These won’t work for you unless your hair’s graying is a result of vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, which is something that you need to discuss with your physician. I personally advise against trusting the claims made by these “Natural Remedy” companies.
 
      I researched several different companies claiming to have herbal and mineral remedies to graying hair in preparing to answer your question. What I found were websites with feedback forums with dozens of people who were dissatisfied at having spent (in some cases) hundreds of dollars for supplements that didn’t work as promised. The company’s line of response was that the other benefits from taking the supplements make up for the lack of promised results.
 
      There were also companies who make suspicious claims as to what actually causes gray hair. One site even went so far as to claim that too much sexual activity caused the hair to go gray because the body never had the opportunity to “replenish” itself. If this were actually true, there would be a large percentage of people striving to get their hair gray just to give the impression of sexual prowess.
 
      I realize that having prematurely gray hair can be disconcerting and troubling for a young person, but I would rather be as honest with you as I can and not give you promises that aren’t reasonable. I wish you the best of luck, and if you should happen to find something “Natural” that does return your gray hair to its original color, please let me know.
 
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