Derm Topics

Patient Buzz: Can hair greying be slowed?

Coveteur recently wrote an article asking if hair greying can be slowed. For expert advice, I contacted Chesahna Kindred, MD, MBA, FAAD, a dermatologist in practice in Columbia, Md.

Is it possible to slow the greying of hair?  

In several of my alopecia patients, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) reverses grey hair. The repigmentation persists when patients keep up with maintenance therapy. In cases in which the cause of grey hair is identified and corrected, such as nutritional or protein deficiency, smoking, or oxidative stress, then grey hair may be reversed or corrected.

However, the common grey hair that patients tend to develop over time is relentless.

Does pseudocatalase cream prevent hair greying?

In my experience, the effects of pseudocatalase are underwhelming and the efficacy is not supported in the dermatology literature.

What role do stress and nutrition play in the greying process?

Multiple studies show that physiological stress, including extreme emotional stressors, increases the oxidative load that leads to the greying process. Other inducers of oxidative stress include UV rays, pollution and inflammatory causes. Deficiencies in vitamin B12, copper, iron, calcium and zinc have been related to premature greying. Thyroid diseases and some medications, such as antimalarials, may also trigger grey hair.

Can hair care products with antioxidants help slow hair greying?

Possibly, but robust studies are needed.

What advice can dermatologists give their patients who are trying to slow the greying process?

I recommend that smokers stop smoking. I check labs to rule out reversible causes in patients with no family history of greying at the patient’s age if premature greying is suspected. Otherwise, counsel the patients that greying is a normal part of the aging process but that there is research looking for a better solution.

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