Thyroid disease and premature greying (I'm 21)?

Hi all,

I searched for this topic but didn't find many results but apparently there is a correlation between thyroid disease and premature greying of the hair so I would like to know if anyone here has found this, if you don't mind sharing your experiences.

I haven't been diagnosed yet I strongly suspect I do have hypothyroidism based on many symptoms I've been getting over the past few years that have gradually worsened (dry, brittle, lifeless hair, dry skin, tiredness after adequate amount of sleep, visual problems despite previously having near-perfect vision, sensitivity to cold, recurring mouth ulcers, brain fog, depression etc.)

The grey streak in my hair is just the latest in a series of odd symptoms, I'm not saying it is 100% thyroid-related obviously but at my age it is quite unusual for this to be down to genetics. Of course I might have a vitamin deficiency which mimics thyroid disease. I have had a basic thyroid profile test via my GP but, like many of you, it was "normal" and despite my protests, that was the end of the conversation and no further tests were carried out. As usual, the GP knew best and all of my physical symptoms were really mental (he said in so many words).

If anyone else developed hypothyroidism around my age and experienced the premature greying I'd be interested to hear about it. I also want to say this is a great forum and a lot of you are understandably very knowledgeable about thyroid disease in a way that unfortunately most GPs are not.

14 Replies

  • Sometimes genetics play a part in premature grey hair. Another is Pernicious Anaemia and yes thyroid gland.

  • Yes! I had a few white strands of hair at 18! They were so difficult to dye, even professionally. Your hair can get colour in it again,a couple of years ago when my thyroid was a bit better my hair started growing in brown,it was so strange my roots were brown and the end was white. I asked my friend who is a hairdresser and she said it happens mostly when it's a medical condition causing the loss of pigment,it can reverse when your thyroid is better.

  • That's interesting kezza, sometimes my eyelashes/eyebrows are like, ends are white, the rest are brown.

  • You need to get a copy of your test results with the lab ranges and post them on here. Someone will be able to advise you.

    I'm 65 - far older than you - and have Graves (hyper) and the whole of the front of my hair is silver, the rest is still dark.

    It fascinates my hairdresser, when he blows it dry he spends ages just brushing it back so that I am totally grey, then brushing it down and it looks brown again, he shows it off to anyone who comes into the shop, in fact I met the person who recommended him to me the other day and even she knew! Simple things.

    I gather it is because of my thyroid but somehow or another I thought it was because I was very hyper - I'm not sure it is quite as silver as it used to be now that I am in remission from my Graves.

    Good luck with trying to get a diagnosis :-)

  • I had my first grey hair at 16yrs -at the time i was rather cross about getting grey hair before I'd become an adult.....!!!

    It has progressed over the years and eventually I got fed up with dying my hair. I also developed Vitiligo at the same time as grey white hair (Vitiligo is where you loose the pigment in your skin and develop pale patches that won't brown but are very very sensitive to the sun). Other autoimmune conditions are common with thyroid disease...but the presence of an autoimmune condition can't be used as a diagnostic tool for diagnosing thyroid disease.

  • Hi, I'm 52 now and mostly white - however this started as streaks of white from my late 20's/early 30's. I'm a red head so it didn't go silver or grey; I just got highlights! Until there was more highlight than original colour. I've no idea if this is genetic or thyroid related though. My grandmother was completely white at 27 too but no thyroid condition as far as I know. I wasn't diagnosed until 40 but expect I developed Hashi's after my pregnancies (at 20 and 23).

  • I found my first grey hair a week before my 27th birthday. I'm 46 this month and would say I'm probably 25% grey now, mostly at my temples. I also think I have some very minor patches of vitiligo (hard to tell as I have a pale Celtic complexion, but there are spots under one of my arms where the hair has no pigment even thought the rest of it is darkish).

  • I found my first white hair at the age of 16. They increased very quickly but as I was an apprentice hairdresser I started to colour my hair - streaks (hi-lights and low lights) and full head semi permanent colours. By the time I was 35 I was almost completely white/silver and so fed up with colouring my hair that I stopped.

    Now at the age of 57 I have no regrets about my natural hair colouring or lack of it!

  • I spotted my first grey hair when I was 15 and it was downhill from then on. Same for my son. I'd say it's genetic in my family as my mother was premature grey as was her mother. My daughter is nearly 40 & hypo like me but only has a few grey hairs, lucky girl! :-D

  • Hi Sazzyb, could it be a genetic thyroid condition which is causing the premature grey hair?

    There is a genetic thyroid condition in my family - reduced sensitivity to thyroid hormone. One of my sons had a white streak in his hair from about age 14 - fortunately he is blonde and it is not very noticeable. I thought initially that the thyroid problem was from my father's side. However I can also see signs of thyroid problems on my mothers side and her mother's relatives all are fully grey by their early 20s.

  • Hi Sandy, hmm now there's a thought. The autoimmune link is definitely on my mother's side so it is quite possible.

  • Hi - You might also check your water supply: if it is fluoridated, that would explain several of your symptoms particularly premature graying of hair. Just one of the things it can cause, along with lowering of intelligence, pregnancy problems, etc.

  • In relation to your "normal" blood tests, it would be useful to check your basal temperature as an indicator of the real status of your thyroid.

  • Hi,

    I have the same symptômes and i started taking Levo since 2 months, i don't know if i'll get my black hair back , anyone has an answer?

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