Khalida Niaz

“At each glance in the mirror, a pang of concern courses through me, for over fifty percent of my hair has prematurely transformed into shades of gray,” lamented Mahnoor, a 22-year-old hailing from Nowshera.

Engaging in conversation with TNN, Mahnoor expressed her present pursuit of education coupled with the gnawing disquiet caused by her prematurely graying locks.

She elucidated that her age does not align with the onset of this phenomenon, a sentiment shared by her peers — young men and women residing in her vicinity. “Gray hair for females becomes an emotional ordeal in our societal fabric, entwined with notions of age. It’s disheartening how people automatically associate it with aging,” she divulged.

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Mahnoor revealed her hair coloring practices have remained untouched, eschewing dyes or any other treatments. The inexplicable advancement of graying tresses perplexes her. Moreover, the weight of her silver hair dilemma amplifies due to her single status, as she is yet to embark on a romantic journey. The discerning eyes of potential suitors scrutinizing every aspect of her appearance accentuate her concern.

Teasing from Friends due to Premature Graying

Ali, aged 15, finds himself grappling with a head of prematurely graying hair. Over the course of the last two years, Ali noticed the gradual emergence of gray strands, a development that invokes concern. He shared, “Friends often jest about me being old before my time. I resort to hair coloring to camouflage the presence of white strands.”

Factors Contributing to Premature Graying

The phenomenon of youthful individuals experiencing premature graying has prompted curiosity. Dr. Riyaz Ahmed Afridi, a plastic surgeon at Lady Reading Hospital, shed light on this issue. He outlined several factors contributing to this occurrence, foremost among them being heredity. If either parent possesses a history of premature graying, their offspring become more susceptible to an early onset of this condition.

Dr. Afridi noted, “Genetics play a significant role, where children of parents with prematurely gray hair are prone to experience this transformation earlier.” Stress also emerges as a crucial catalyst for premature graying. “Emotional distress or tension can expedite the graying process,” he explained.

Intricacies of Biological Changes

Dr. Afridi elaborated on the underlying mechanisms at play. He highlighted that specific chemicals released within the bodies of certain individuals contribute to the shift towards white hair. The intricate interplay of biological factors prompts this alteration in hair pigmentation.

Environmental Pollution’s Role in Premature Graying

Elaborating on the multifaceted triggers of premature graying, environmental pollution emerges as a significant factor. Dr. Riaz Ahmad Afridi elucidated that hair’s natural black hue is attributed to melanin presence. The release of certain chemicals undermines this melanin, leading to the emergence of gray strands. Dr. Afridi emphasized that inadequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins constitutes another pivotal cause.

He stated, “A diet deficient in essential nutrients has repercussions on hair health. Deficiencies in Vitamin B12, zinc, and copper can expedite graying. Thyroid irregularities can also manifest in hair-related issues. Moreover, exposure to environmental pollutants and excessive sunlight also contribute.”

Impact of Household Utensils

Dr. Afridi further highlighted a less obvious contributor. He pointed out the prevalence of plastic utensils in households, which, when subjected to heat, release free radicals. These free radicals, in turn, accelerate the graying process. In this manner, even seemingly unrelated elements like cooking utensils can exert an influence on hair pigmentation.

Addressing Premature Graying What steps can individuals take if they notice premature graying of their hair? Dr. Riaz Ahmed Afridi provides guidance on managing this concern. He recommends incorporating vitamins A, C, and B12 into one’s diet, alongside a focus on vegetable consumption for their antioxidant properties. He also advises transitioning to non-plastic cookware and, for those who smoke, quitting the habit.

Exploring Treatment Options

Is there a way to counteract the effects of gray hair? Dr. Afridi sheds light on available treatments. Dyeing hair remains a viable solution, effectively concealing white strands. Contrary to misconceptions, hair dyeing does not exacerbate graying but rather stands as a treatment choice.

Dr. Afridi outlines a schedule for dyeing based on the extent of graying: individuals with 20% white hair should consider coloring every 8 weeks; those with 50% white hair are advised to dye every 6 weeks, and individuals with over 70% white hair should opt for coloring every 4 weeks.

Furthermore, beyond hair dyeing, Dr. Afridi underscores the potential of various medications to counteract premature graying. While no definitive cure exists, these options provide avenues for those seeking to address this cosmetic concern.

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