London: As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color — like gray, silver, or white as it grows. As people continue to get older, fewer pigment cells will be around to produce melanin. Eventually, the hair will look completely gray.
People can get gray hair at any age. Some people go gray at a young age as early as when they are in high school or college whereas others may be in their 30s or 40s before they see that first gray hair. How early we get gray hair is determined by our genes. This means that most of us will start having gray hairs around the same age that our parents or grandparents first did.
How to Prevent Early Grey Hair
Waking up one day and discovering grey hair when you haven’t even hit thirty is a nightmare for many. No need to panic though, here are 11 things experts suggest you need to know about going grey while you’re still young.
Your body stops producing melanin: The reason your hair suddenly turns grey is that the cells that produce melanin a pigment found in the hair follicle that gives color have stopped doing so, says a New York-based dermatologist. With age, the enzyme catalyst that breaks down hydrogen peroxide weakens and this results in your hair being bleached grey by it.
It is genetic:
Going grey early is linked to your genes. If your parents and grandparents had premature greying, then you’re likely to experience it too. Dr. Michael Eidelman, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine, says genetics are also responsible for the progress, intensity, and shade – white, silver, or grey.
Ethnicity and gender are also major factors
Your ethnic background can also explain why you’re going grey early. Research shows that Asians start getting grey hair in their late 30’s, Caucasians in the mid-’30s, and African Americans in their 40’s. Your gender also plays a role – men start greying around the age of 30 whereas women start around 35.
It could be a medical condition
Though the greying of hair is a natural process, it could sometimes be due to medical conditions like vitamin B-12 deficiency, anemia, vitiligo, or issues with the pituitary or thyroid gland.
Smoking ups your chances of getting grey hair
There is a proven correlation between going grey and smoking, according to studies. One such study found that smokers are two and a half times more likely to go grey early as compared to non-smokers. Smoking is also said to be related to baldness because the chemicals present in cigarette smoke damage hair and cause hair cells to break down, as stated by The New York Times.
Stress may be involved
There is no research that explicitly states that stress causes premature greying, but stress hormones may have an effect on the melanin-producing cells which could lead to it. According to Dr. Eidelmen, stress can cause you to shed hair faster, but it’s unlikely that only the dark ones fall out.
Grey hair is not a sign of a shorter life expectancy
Many people believe that if you develop grey hair early in life, you are likely to have a shorter life span, but that’s not true. There is no evidence to suggest any correlation between the greying of hair and life expectancy.
Body hair greys later than the hair on your head
The hair on other parts of your body, like chest, arms, or legs, typically grey after the hair on your scalp and at different rates.
You can’t reverse it
Once you go grey, you can’t reverse the process or prevent it through creams or vitamins, according to scientific evidence. However, if the greying was because of a medical condition, then it might be resolved by curing the condition.
You can hide it though
You can’t reverse it, but you can conceal your grey hair by dyeing it. However, be careful because too much chemical coloring can also damage your hair.
You should use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner
The texture of your hair changes once it starts greying. To take care of coarse, dry, and brittle hair, dermatologists recommend using moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner and staying hydrated. You should also keep heat-styling to a minimum and avoid shampooing every day.