Grey Beard: Causes, Prevention & Ways to Reverse

What causes grey beard hair

As disturbing as it may be, when you start seeing strands of gey beard, know this: Grey is a color of wisdom.

What causes grey beard hair? Causes of grey facial hair include age, vitamin deficiencies, genetics, oxidative stress, certain medical conditions, stress, smoking, Chemical beard dyes, and facial hair products.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the beard going grey, how to slow or reverse it in some instances, and how to try and prevent it.

Causes of greying beard


The human body bears millions upon millions of hair follicles. Every day the body sheds old hair and generates new ones.

Hair follicles produce new hair with color or melanin. As you age, these hair follicles tend to lose the pigment/melanin cells resulting in grey, white, or silver beard.

However, a grey beard can start to develop at any age, to some it may come as early as in their 20’s while to others as late as in their 50’s.

Vitamin deficiencies

Lack of enough biotinOpens in a new tab., vitamin E, Vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and Vitamin B-6 can lead to premature greying of your beard and overall hair.

This studyOpens in a new tab. conducted in 2015 found that deficiencies in vitamin D-3, copper, and vitamin B-12 led to premature greying.

The researchers found that deficiency of these nutrients in the body results in loss of pigmentation.

Results from another independent studyOpens in a new tab. conducted among Indians who were under 25 years, showed that those who were suffering from premature greying were suffering from low levels of serum ferritin. Ferritin helps the body to store iron and vitamin B12.


A studyOpens in a new tab. conducted in 2013 found out that, One of the primary causes of premature greying is genetics.

Ethnicity and race also play a huge role in a person’s premature greying, just like the ethnicity of a person plays a role in a person being able to grow a beard or not.

For instance, men from the Native AmericansOpens in a new tab. and East Asians struggle to grow a beard as compared to the caucasian men.

According to this reportOpens in a new tab., white people can experience premature greying as young as 20 years of age. While Asians can go through the same process at 25 years of age and 30 years for African Americans.

Oxidative stress

While the main cause of premature greying is genetics, oxidative stress in the body can accelerate the process, especially when the body does not have enough antioxidants to fight the effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are defined as molecules that are unstable and end up damaging the cells leading to aging and diseases. An example of free radicals in the Uv rays from the sun.

An excess of oxidative stress in the body can lead to a disease known as vitiligo.

A skin pigmentation condition can make your hair turn white by reducing the amount of melanin in the hair.

Certain medical conditions

Some medical conditions such as auto-immune diseases, which by the way can cause hair loss a condition called alopecia areata can lead to premature greying.

These claims have been supported by this published hereOpens in a new tab. that found very close connections between thyroid dysfunction and hair abnormalities.

This studyOpens in a new tab. found out that when hair loss is caused by a condition known referred above alopecia areata, it tends to grow back white as a result of the loss of melanin.


Though a lot of research has been conducted on the effect of stress on the body, there are still conflicting studies on whether stress can cause premature greying.

However, going with anecdotal evidence most people believe that their hair started turning grey once they became stressed.

These anecdotal claims can be supported by this report published hereOpens in a new tab. that states that, melanin cells that produce color becomes depleted when the body is under stress.

Additional studies reveal that stress accelerates premature greying when there are other underlying factors such as diseases.


A study conducted in 2013 found that smoking can expose a person to greying two and half times more before they reach 30 years of age, as compared to non-smokers.

Findings that were supported by another studyOpens in a new tab. that was conducted in 2015, that linked premature greying in young men with smoking.

Chemical hair dyes and hair products

Sometimes, once in a while, we bearded men like to dye our beards, somehow dying a beard makes it look more attractive.

Other times when we start seeing a few grey strands on the beard we go ahead and dye it.

Dying your beard to make it retain its color can be a reason that is making your beard turn more grey.

Chemical hair dyes and shampoos that contain harmful products can lead to greying your beard.

Most of these poorly formulated beard care products contain harmful ingredients that result in premature greying.

One such ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. You should keep off any product that has hydrogen peroxide.

How to prevent and possibly reverse premature greying beard

Can you reverse grey beard? Yes, you can reverse a grey beard, if it was caused by factors other than aging and genetics.

By correcting the factor that causes your beard to grey you can possibly reverse the grey beard.

If premature greying of your beard has been caused by vitamin deficiencies, medical conditions, and lifestyle, then correcting these factors can reverse the premature greying, and stimulate your hair follicles to produce more melanin.

Eating more antioxidants

Have you ever heard of the saying, “a person is what they eat”? Well, your diet could be one of the reasons why your beard is going grey.

A diet that has lots of antioxidantsOpens in a new tab. can go a long way in preventing and reducing the effects of oxidative stress.

Include food that is rich in antioxidants in your diet, and you may stand a chance to fight premature greying.

These foods include

Boost your vitamin levels

As we mentioned above, deficiencies of some vitamins can lead to premature greying of your beard.

You should visit your doctor for them to advise you, whether you are suffering from any vitamin deficiency before boosting your levels of vitamins in the body as if you self-diagnose you may not be able to tell which vitamin you need to boost.

After establishing the vitamins that your body lacks, you can then begin using supplements to boost them or eating foods that are known to contain these vitamins.

For instance, if you are suffering from deficiencies of vitamin B12, consuming eggs, seafood, and meat can help you replenish your body levels. Cheese, salmon, and milk are great sources of vitamin D.

Quit smoking

As mentioned earlier, research has established a link between smoking and greying hair. If you want to reverse your greying beard, then you should quit smoking immediately.

How can I increase melanin in my beard? You can increase melanin in your beard by eating more antioxidants, boosting levels of vitamins such as vitamin D, B12, B6, and copper. Quit smoking, relieve stress, and use products that are not harsh to your beard.

Natural remedies

Instead of using chemical-loaded dyes and hair products to mask your greying beard, you can consider using these natural remedies to treat your greying beard.

Curry leaves. When curry leaves extracts are mixed with beard oil they can go a long way into slowing premature greying. This study published here shows that curry leaves can make your hair retain its color and can also be used to prevent premature greying.

Bhringaraj: Based on this report published hereOpens in a new tab., Bhringaraj or false daisy as it commonly is known can help prevent premature greying of the hair. Boil the leaves of the plants in coconut oil and apply them to your beard. These leaves are also available in oil form which you can add in your beard oil to use daily in your greying beard.

Indian gooseberry or amla oil: Amla oil is known to reverse premature greying of hair. These properties are associated with the fact that amla oil is loaded with antioxidants and anti-aging properties. However, I would caution against using amla oil for your beard premature greying as it is a DHT blocker that may palter the growth of your beard.

Black tea: Black tea has been proven to make the hair appear darker, shinier, and softer. To use black tea in your beard, steep a few tea bags, as much as you can use in your beard. Then mix it with a beard conditioner or shampoo and apply it to your beard. leave it for bout an hour before rinsing it off.

Copper: Low levels of copper in the body can lead to premature greying as revealed in this studyOpens in a new tab.. Therefore, adding sources of copper such as beef liver, lentils, almonds, dark chocolate, and asparagus to your diet can help prevent and treat premature greying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are grey beards attractive: Based on results from a poll conducted online, most women found greybeards to be very attractive.

Why do beards go grey before head hair? The reason your beards go grey before your head hair is due to the fact that facial hair is believed to grow faster than head hair. Therefore, as beards start greying more nr beard hairs will come out grey compared to scalp hair.

At what age beard starts Greying? A grey beard can start to develop at any age, to some it may come as early as in their 20’s while to others, as late as in their 50’s. White people can experience premature greying as young as 20 years of age, while Asians can go through the same process at 25 years of age and 30 years for African Americans.

Does a grey beard make you look older? Yes, grey beard or not, a beard makes a person look older according to researchOpens in a new tab.. A mustache alone can make a man appear five years older than his actual age, while a goatee makes a man appear four years older.

Are beards grey in style? Yes, most celebrity men are rocking the grey beard making them grow in popularity and bringing the grey beard back into style.


If you have been struggling with a grey beard or wondering what is causing it we hope our guide has answered your questions. Follow our guidelines to reverse premature greying caused by factors other than age and genetics.


My name is Ben, when growing my beard I had a lot of questions. Now that I have been able to grow a beard, I started this blog to share answers to the research I did to the many questions I had. I also share tips on how to maintain and grow dreadlocks and general tips to looking guide. I am all about looking good.

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