Do Eyelashes Turn Gray?

Do Eyelashes Turn Gray?

It can be shocking to look in the mirror and find out that some of your lashes are somehow translucent and worst of all they are turning gray.

Fact is, it may simply be a natural process. You first notice a few hairs turning gray before it begins to spread to many others.

Yes, eyelashes do and can turn gray with time. Sometimes as a result of aging and other factors, the melanin in our hairs naturally declines and causes the lashes to appear gray and then later white. 

Unlike the hairs on our head, the eyelashes take a longer time to thin out and lose their color. And in some cases, gray lashes can be an indication of an underlying medical condition or a genetic disorder. However, some of these issues shouldn’t be a cause of concern.

Do Eyelashes Really Turn Gray?

Eyelashes get their color from the pigments of melanin produced by cells called melanocytes in the hair follicle. But when melanin is depleted, the hair and eyelashes begin to turn gray. This doesn’t necessarily mean the lash is dying, they grow, fall out, and regrow again, it’s simply a typical growth phase

When the cells produce about half melanin as they normally produce, eyelashes tend to go from dark to gray and then white as time goes on. It’s pretty rare for a gray eyelash to grow back in its initial dark color, that is, a graying lash is irreversible.

Eyelashes as tiny as they may appear are naturally thicker and coarser than the hairs on the head and they are usually dark unless, of course, you are a blonde or a redhead. 

Lashes are a high caliber of hairs that are more robust which makes them thin out and turn gray much later than typical hairs. 

Let’s examine what eventually causes them to turn gray.

Does Olive Oil Help Eyelashes Grow?
Image: Envato Elements

What Causes the Eyelashes to Turn Gray

There are several natural and medical reasons your eyelashes are turning gray.

1. Aging

Aging out of other factors is the most common. As we age the melanocytes tend to produce less melanin, this causes the lashes to turn gray and later white as melanin continues to decline.

Graying can start at any age but most prominently it happens to people beyond their 40s. But if you begin to notice gray lashes at an earlier age you should consider Genetics as another cause.

2. Genetics

Sometimes genetic mutations or hormonal factors can abnormally turn the lash gray. It is believed that if one or both of your parents went gray at an early age, the probability of you inheriting that trait is high. However, genetic-driven gray lashes cannot be reversed.

Ethnicity can also play a huge role in premature graying. Most Caucasians and Asians may begin to go gray in their mid-30s, while African Americans tend to start in their 40s.

3. Medical conditions

Medical conditions like thyroid disease, alopecia areata, and vitiligo or pigmentation disorders can cause lashes to lose their color and turn gray. 

This condition attacks the hair follicles and causes white patches to form on the skin and hair due to a drastic decrease in melanin production. 

Although alopecia areata can cause the lash to turn gray temporarily, in some cases it can be permanent. 

4. Stress

Acute stress can help speed up the graying process. It is known to trigger Telogen Effluvium, a condition whereby a hair follicle rapidly skips to the final stages of its life cycle.

Some research suggests that stress may cause gray lashes to grow out sooner than they ought to. However, the link between stress and hair graying hasn’t been fully understood.

Emotional or physical stress such as chemotherapy is also believed to cause the lashes to gray out. 

Why Guys Have Longer Eyelashes

5. Mineral and vitamin deficiency 

Vitamin B12 is very essential for metabolism and DNA production. Research has shown that premature graying of the lashes can be associated with a deficiency of vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin. 

These vitamins and minerals are however very important for hair growth and the indication of vitamin deficiency is first visible in our hairs and lashes as they begin to turn gray or white.

6. Smoking

It is strongly believed that smoking is a potential cause of premature gray lashes. Smoking increases oxidative damage to the cells called melanocytes which are responsible for producing melanin. In this process, melanin production in the lashes is reduced and gray hairs begin to show.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do about gray lashes?

Gray lashes can be a cause of concern. You can leave them to go through the natural process and rock them or you can decide to hide or cover them.  A few gray lashes or hairs often symbolizes maturity and wisdom.

They are perfectly natural, as the hair follicles from which they grow are unable to produce melanin. 

Some have tried plucking the gray lashes out but they will always grow back out. Nonetheless, if the appearance bothers you so much, a few remedies that help cover up gray eyelashes are mascara, eyelash dyes, eyelash serum, and eyelash extensions.

Do eyelashes turn gray?

Yes, they do, for a number of reasons. The aging process and stress can affect the eyelashes and the hair as a whole. At a certain age, gray lashes shouldn’t be a surprise.

As well some other medical conditions such as vitiligo, thyroid disorder, alopecia areata, and vitamin B12 can also promote premature gray hairs. It is also important to check your family genes as genetics can be a contributing factor to graying hairs.

 Final Thoughts

Gray lashes could be shocking sometimes, but in most cases, it is expected for those who must have come of age. Genetics, aging, stress, and hormonal change are natural causes of melanin reduction.

Moreover, it is necessary to be aware that graying lashes can also happen as a result of a medical condition and in most cases, this effect cannot be reversed. 

If you notice that your lashes are turning gray unusually and it’s not for an obvious natural cause, ensure to consult a doctor or any health care provider around you.

Related Posts