Srinagar, Oct 20: Taking extra stress, not sleeping on time, taking a lot of junk and processed food can all contribute to premature greying of hair among youngsters, valley-based doctors said.
Earlier, greying of hair was seen mainly in elderly people. But now embracing early or premature greying is commonly seen among youngsters, teenagers and even in children in the Valley.
“Habits of youngsters like sleeping during the day, staying awake at night, consuming a lot of junk food and being in stressful jobs are the reasons for premature hair greying of hair,” doctors said.
Dr Abrar Wani, a senior Medical Officer at the Ayush unit of Ganderbal District Hospital told Rising Kashmir that, “More young men and women including children are seeking consultation on this issue.
“A hormonal imbalance, chronic sinusitis, gastrointestinal disorders, eating habits, malnutrition, chronic anaemia, nutritional deficiency, hyperthyroidism as well as genetic disorders are the reasons behind premature greying of hair.”
Dr Wani said they receive a large number of young premature greying patients daily.
He also said that few grey hairs can also develop in children as young as 12 and then it generally progresses with increasing age.
“This issue is seen in children who are sensitive and overburdened with studies. We avoid giving medicines to the kids rather we prefer to do counselling,” he said.
He further added that once the patients are diagnosed with premature greying then doctors evaluate them on psychiatric level, endocrinological level and deficiency level.
“One of the associated factors is Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) in young women due to which premature greying is seen among them,” he said.
According to medical terminology, greying begins inside the sunken pits in the scalp called follicles. A typical human head has about 100,000 of these teardrop-shaped cavities, each capable of sprouting several hairs in a lifetime.
At the bottom of each follicle is a hair-growing factory where cells work together to assemble colored hair. Keratinocytes (epidermal cells) build the hair from the bottom up, stacking atop one another and eventually dying, leaving behind mostly keratin, a colourless protein that gives hair its texture and strength.
Dr. Mohi-ud-din Wani, a Kashmir based dermatologist said that he receives at least ten to fifteen premature hair greying cases of youngsters.
“It is very common in Kashmir. In the recent past we used to receive three cases of premature hair greying but now it has increased. Stress also has increased in the young generation. Due to instability and a stressful lifestyle, youth are depressed. We even receive cases of children who have grey hairs,” said Wani.
Saika (name changed), a student of 11th class said that she is worried about greying early and it increases her stress level.
“I have consulted many doctors but my grey hair continues to irritate me. This is so frustrating that I look older than my age. I have even consumed medicines but nothing has happened. Then I started dying my hair,” said Naveed, a student of class 12th.
As per International Scientific study, “stress plays a role in a more gradual greying process.”
The study also shows "greying could be a result of chronic free radical damage. Stress hormones produced either systemically or locally (by cells in the follicle) could produce inflammation that drives the production of free radicals—unstable molecules that damage cells—and "it is possible that these free radicals could influence melanin production or induce bleaching of melanin.”