Home Health & Fitness Why Does Hair Turn Gray? How To Prevent Hair Graying?
hair graying

Why Does Hair Turn Gray? How To Prevent Hair Graying?

by Peter Barnes

Although hair graying is a natural thing, many people are ashamed of it because of the different opinions in the society about aging. Have you ever seen someone trying to cover up by dyeing their white hair? Hair gray, silver or white is a natural part of aging. Loss of color in your hair usually starts after the age of 30. Here we talk about how and why hair loss occurs.

What gives hair its natural color?

You may have heard of melanin pigment. According to dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, MD. Melanin, the brown / black or yellow/red pigment that brightens your skin and eyes, also determines the color of your hair. Like mixing dyes, “Melanin size and composition determine hair color”

Why does hair have color?

This feature may have been partially evolved to help humans stand out from each other and attract partners and regulate body temperature by absorbing or reflecting sunlight.

Why is my hair graying?

Hair graying
Photo – Alumniyat

Basically, hair has two parts:

  • Hair shaft – The colorful part of our head that grows
  • Hair Root – the lower part, the hair is placed under the scalp

Hair graying is generally melanin deficient hair while white hair is completely melanin deficient hair. This is because genes help control melanin production. Another major factor is the gradual decrease in the number of stem cells that mature into melanin-producing cells. Scientists have not yet confirmed why. But it has now been discovered that it can cause cells to become inactive, damaged, or lose support systems that are supposed to activate them.

Simply, as we age, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When the pigment cells in the hair follicle are reduced, the hair follicle no longer contains the amount of melanin and as it grows it becomes a more transparent color – like gray, silver or white. As humans get older, pigment cells become less able to produce melanin. Eventually, the hair turns completely gray.

hair graying
Photo – SkinKraft

Can I prevent hair graying?

No. you cannot actually, and even there is no research-based product available to prevent it.

Scientists who have experimented with mice have recently shown that three specific genes help maintain a stable number of melanin-producing cells. By manipulating genes, researchers were able to prevent or reduce hair graying in mice.

Can stress cause hair color change?

No. That is a myth. But dermatologists say, either the diet routine, the mineral water, or the hair dye being washed away or an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata can cause a sudden change in the color of the hair, which causes irritation and pigmentation of the hair but it does not affect it. White hair creates the illusion of a sudden color change.

Can stress cause long-term graying hair?

There is no definitive evidence for this, but researchers who have found some evidence. Harmful chemicals caused by stress, smoking, inflammation or radiation exposure have been found to cause the destruction of pigment-producing melanocyte stem cells.

Does smoking cause premature hair graying?

Scientists suspect that smoking causes chemical changes and that can damage melanin-producing cells in the body. According to the 2013 study, it was found that smokers’ hair turned gray three years earlier than non-smokers.

Can you reverse gray hair?

There are no effective treatments that can reverse or prevent hair graying as of now. Gray hair normally comes with aging. It may vary from person to person from different age ranges. What you can do is hair coloring or dye.

hair graying
Photo – Onmanorama

How can I restore melanin in my hair?

You can change your diet plans by including foods that increase  the melanin strength. Especially iron helps you to boost the melanin production process. Therefore you can get dark chocolate, fish, bananas, tomatoes, tofu, broccoli, legumes, spinach, lentils, nuts, cashew, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and dark green veggies.

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