What Are the Causes of Gray Hair in Men?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Graying of hair is a natural effect of aging.
Graying of hair is a natural effect of aging.

The cause of gray hair in men is the gradual reduction of melanin production in the hair shaft. Both men and women get gray hair for the same reason, and both sexes usually experience the first signs of gray hair during their thirties and into their fifties. Genetics may lead to premature graying of hair and may also play a role in the severity of gray hair in men and women as well as in how quickly the hair will changes colors once it begins. Most individuals experience a gradual change over several years or even decades.

Gray hair is actually not gray in color at all, but transparent. When these hairs sit against the darker hair, one another, or the scalp they have a gray or white appearance. Gray hair in men is due to a reduction in melanin, the substance which gives skin and hair its coloring. It is also produced in the hair shaft, or bulb, and gives hair a distinct red, brown, or blonde coloring.

There is nothing one can do to prevent or reverse gray hair permanently. The appearance of gray hair in men is determined primarily by genetics. Those whose parents became gray prematurely are more likely to do so themselves. The average age for finding graying hair is in the mid-thirties, which more and more gray hair becoming noticeable as the person approaches middle age.

Some will develop more gray hair than others, and some may even escape having gray hair until well into old age. Most individuals will turn gray to some extent. There are factors which may result in one turning gray sooner than usual. Tobacco use, for instance, has shown to speed up the graying process. This is especially true in those who are predisposed to going gray prematurely anyway.

Products are on the market which are designed to reduce the appearance of gray hair in men. They mostly consist of various dye kits which color the hair artificially to cover the gray. Other products have been developed which claim to replace lost melanin in the hair itself, and thus reduce gray hair production. These products have not been clinically proven to work, however. It is important to speak with a doctor or pharmacist before trying any dietary supplement.

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    • Graying of hair is a natural effect of aging.
      By: neirfy
      Graying of hair is a natural effect of aging.