First Gray Hair

Woman who discovers her first gray hair
Photo: Bigstock
Q: I found my first gray hair today! How long will it take for my hair to go completely gray?
A: There is not really one hard and fast rule concerning gray hair. Even if you’ve found your first gray hair, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re starting to go gray. Sometimes hormonal changes cause one or two gray hairs, but it might still be ten years before the gray hairs increase.
There are some factors that affect this:
When did your parents start to go gray? How long did it take your aunts or uncles, brothers or sisters to go gray? Gray hair is usually pretty predictable when you do a bit of research into the maturing-process of your immediate family’s hair. This is not the be all and end all, though. It may be that your whole family goes gray in their twenties and you only go gray in your forties.
Most people start getting noticeable gray hairs in their thirties to forties. With our increased stressful lives, people are starting to get gray hair earlier. Luckily, your hairdresser will be able to help you out if gray hair bothers you!
Stress factor
As I’ve mentioned earlier, stress has a huge impact on when hair goes gray. A stressful life or lifestyle can make a person go gray in their early twenties. You’ll easily see this in the corporate realm where young professionals are over-worked, under-paid and literally competing with uncountable others just like them that are fighting to get the corner-office or fast-track to becoming a partner.
But the thing that has the most powerful effect is sudden shock or sadness. This is where the death of a loved one, or severe sickness such as cancer strikes a person’s life. I’ve seen women turn totally gray within a few weeks of losing their children, and men go gray after losing their jobs or finding out that their spouse has been unfaithful. People often say that a hairdresser can immediately see if someone is struggling emotionally or physically by just looking at the state of their hair. This is really true.
Thus taking the above into account, you can apply the information on your own situation and make a more educated guess at how long it will take you to go gray.
See also:
Teenagers and gray hair
Premature gray hair
Gray hair and age