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What causes grey hair?

Why do some people have lesser grey hair than others? What exactly causes grey hair? Here in this article, we explain everything about grey hair and how to prevent it. I have listed 3 food to help with the prevention of grey hair and have also added an extra bonus at the end about plucking your grey hair and the consequences of it. Do give it a read and educate yourself! :)

Hello! My name is Zell. In this article, we’re going to talk about what grey hair is and what causes grey hair. Over the years, I have realized that I seem to have more and more of it. I have 2 long strands of grey over at my fringe. Some of my friends have a lot more, some have none of it (lucky you!) and quite a large number of our customers are visiting us frequently to cover their greys. And after all these years of looking at my greys, I understand that I will have more in the future so it prompts me to think about what exactly is the cause of it and if we can prevent it.

There isn’t a specific age that starts this grey hair cycle as it is mostly genetics. I noticed my first strand when I was around 20 but I have friends who found theirs as early as 12 or 13. Such premature greying problem isn’t uncommon in Singapore. At what age did you discover your first strand of grey hair?

Let’s go a little deeper on what makes our hair black. In our hair follicles, it contains pigment cells that produce melanin, here’s the official explanation for melanin -

A dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight

Everyone should have about the same number of cells that produce melanin but the interesting thing is, not everyone produces the same amount of melanin. And that is why some of us have darker hair and some of us premature greying problem. In short, if your hair is very dark and you don't have a lot of greys, your body is producing a lot of melanin, and that is good. Conversely, if you have a lot of greys, it means your body is not producing as much melanin. And if you noticed that your parents or grandparents have greying problem, it’s likely that you will have it too. Genetics.

The following are the causes of grey hair -

The process of aging

The number 1 explanation for greys, aging. This would be quite straightforward. As you grow older, age is not the only thing that has increased, the amount of grey hair increased too within this 12 months. In the beginning, you might only notice 1 particular strand but next year you might see 2 strands and 4 strands the following year. Our skin changes with age, so do our hair too.

Your ethnicity

Different ethnicity will determine the age that you will go grey. For example, the top of the list is Caucasians. Caucasians tend to go grey earlier, with redheads being the earliest. Asian is next and thereafter, African-Americans.

Stress plays a role too

Although stress will not cause you to go grey directly, it plays a vital role in this. When you are under tremendous stress, you will start to shed hair rapidly and after this huge change within the hair structure, the hair may grow back in a different color. It is not definite that everybody’s hair will grow back in a different color but there is a possibility.


There was a study back in 2013 from the Italian Dermatology Online Journal and it reported that smokers are 2.5 times more likely to go grey earlier than non-smokers. Smoking causes the blood vessels to be narrower, which can reduce blood flow to hair follicles. In addition, toxins in cigarettes can damage your body, including hair follicles, and causing early grey hair.

Lacking Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 plays a huge role in your body. It not only gives you energy, but it also helps you to maintain healthy hair growth and hair color. Your body needs vitamin B-12 in order to have healthy red blood cells and without the red blood cells to carry oxygen to the cells in your body and hair, the hair cells will be weakened and it will affect melanin production. If melanin is not being produced, due to a lack of pigment, the hair will turn grey quickly.

In conclusion, with all the information listed above, although it’s mostly genetics but 2 factors will definitely cause the early grey problem - smoking and vitamin b-12. Some food that is rich in vitamin b-12 are eggs, cheese, and salmon. Unless you are heavily affected by genetics, if not, do eat more of the food above in order to allow the hair to produce melanin healthily.

Bonus information

I understand that many of us still have the wrong concept, let me bust some myths. Since young, I was taught that I should pluck off my greys so that the hair will look better without those conspicuous few strands of grey but that is a big no-no. You should never pluck your grey hair. Never. Our hair is like a plant that is growing in the soil. When we pluck our hair, we are plucking them out of the root structure and that damages and traumatize the hair follicle. If it is done regularly, it can cause infection and that possibly lead to bald patches. The surrounding hair will not turn grey if you leave the hair as it is, it will turn grey only when the cells stop producing melanin. The hair will not produce melanin just because you pluck it. But the hair follicle will be damaged because you pluck it. Don’t do that and hurt your hair.

If you need any help on your hair issue, you know where to find us. Just head to our fb page and send us a message. Or if you have booked an appointment with us on our website, you should have my number. Send me a message. Ask me anything, hair loss, hair care routine, hair maintenance. I’m always here to help you! :)


Steve V Hair Studio

Bugis Cube (opposite Bugis Junction)

#04-04 S'pore 188735

Tel no: 6336 1476


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