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Fact Check: Does Salt Or Saltwater Cause Grey Hair?

From age to genetics, many factors can affect your hair. But is salt or saltwater one of them? Let’s find out.

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: Apr 12, 2023 11:56 IST
Fact Check: Does Salt Or Saltwater Cause Grey Hair?

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We’ve all grown up listening to what our elders have to say about our health and wellness. Whether scientifically proven or not, some of their home remedies are popular. However, some traditional ideas and methods remain under speculation. For instance, does touching our hair with salt-ridden hands really turn our hair grey? Can saltwater lead to grey or white hair? To find answers to these questions, OnlyMyHealth spoke with Dr Nivedita Dadu, dermatologist, founder and chairperson of Dadu Medical Centre, Delhi. 

Also Read: Here Are 6 Ways To Say Goodbye To Frizzy Hair While You Are Asleep

The Biology Of Hair Pigmentation

According to Dr Dadu, before understanding the relationship between salt and white hair, it is important to understand the biology of hair pigmentation. 

“Hair color is determined by the amount and type of pigment produced by melanocytes, which are specialised cells found in the hair follicles. As we age, the number of melanocytes decreases, and the remaining cells produce less melanin, which is the pigment responsible for hair color. This reduction leads to grey or white hair,” she explains. 

Can Salt Or Saltwater Cause Grey/White Hair?

Addressing the elephant in the room, Dr Dadu says, “There is no scientific evidence to suggest that salt or saltwater directly causes grey or white hair. However, excessive exposure to saltwater can damage the hair shaft, leading to hair breakage and split ends. This can make hair appear dry, brittle, and dull, which may make it more susceptible to premature greying. Excessive exposure to sunlight can also cause hair damage, and this may increase the likelihood of premature greying.”

Risk Factors Of Grey Or White Hair

While salt or saltwater does not directly cause white hair, the excessive damage due to salt/saltwater exposure can lead to premature greying. There are other risk factors too:

  • Genetics: If your parents or grandparents have grey or white hair, you are more likely to develop it as well
  • Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Tips To Maintain Healthy Hair

To maintain healthy hair, it is essential to follow a proper hair care routine. This includes: 

  • Wash hair regularly
  • Use a conditioner to keep it moisturised
  • Avoid excessive heat styling, and protecting it from UV radiation
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals 
  • Consult a dermatologist who can evaluate your hair and scalp


According to Dr Dadu, salt or saltwater exposure does not directly cause grey or white hair. However, excessive exposure to saltwater can lead to hair damage and breakage, making hair more susceptible to premature greying. Genetics and other factors such as medical conditions and diet play a significant role too. Maintaining a healthy hair care routine and consulting a dermatologist can help keep your hair healthy and prevent premature pigment changes.