Is it Possible to Slow Down Grey Hair Growth?

We put the question to a trichologist…




While we love to champion the beauty of grey hair, for some, the appearance of a rogue silver strand is not on their beauty wish list. So we decided to look into the reasons behind these white locks and whether we can stop them completely – and what we found out was pretty interesting… 

First and foremost, whether or not you get greys all depends on your genes. 'The age at which our hair goes grey is mostly down to the genetic hand we are dealt,' says Jane Martins, trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic in Green St, Mayfair. 

'Some people will start going grey in their early 20s, while others will be well into their 50s when their first grey appears.' 'If either of your parents turned grey early, it's probable that you will too.'

While there's no way of completely stopping our greys (thanks, mum and dad), we wondered whether there was any way to slow down the process. 

While there is no concrete method, Jane says there is something that could help.

​ 'If you have a vitamin B deficiency, adding foods rich in B vitamins, or a supplement containing them, may be useful in stopping premature greying,' she advises. 

'However, at present there is no way to delay when you are genetically programmed to turn grey.' Jane adds that the reason behind ensuring your diet contains vitamin B is due to the fact various studies have shown that a lack of the vitamin can turn hair white prematurely.

​'Nutritional and hormonal factors may affect hair colour, as can illness and stress. One of the reasons for this is because stress, illness and an improper diet can deplete your body of vitamin B.' 

So it may be time to stock up on some fish and dairy! But before you head out to your nearest supermarket, be assured that if a grey hair does pop out of nowhere, plucking it out won't cause more to appear. 'This myth is most likely due the fact that when you see one grey hair and you pull it out, you then start searching for others. 

Usually there will be more lurking about in the area, and when you find them you're convinced that the action of plucking made it worse,' says Jane. However, she still urges that you avoid picking up your tweezers; 'If you continuously pluck out a hair you run the risk of damaging the hair follicle – and this can result in distortion of strands and even permanent loss of hair.'