|Grey Hair Be Gone!|
|Written by Liberty Craig|
Scientific breakthrough elicits new understanding of why we go grey.
We can all expect to see a little silver at the temples by the time we’re in our thirties or forties – or if we’re lucky (and rare), our fifties and beyond. For some of us it can be a serious shock , but be warned, because psychological shock or trauma can actually contribute to greying hair! Rest assured, though, that two grey hairs will not actually replace one plucked grey hair. Pure fiction.
But what causes grey hair? Is it an inescapable reality of age and genetics, or is there something we can do about it... other than getting a dye job?
Maybe. While it is true that grey hair is a result of how many decades you have under your belt, and is certainly influenced by your genetic makeup, there are other factors at play here as well. All hair begins as white hair, and is given colour by the cells in our hair follicles called “melanocytes,” which generate the pigments (including melanin) that give our hair its specific colour. Those with more melanin tend to have darker hair; less melanin typically means lighter hair. Over time, according to Harvard scientists, our melanocyte stem cells begin to fail as we age, producing fewer melanocytes, which in turn results in less melanin. And that’s why we get grey hair.
Sounds perfectly plausible. However, new research is taking another look at the science behind our failing follicles, and our knowledge of going grey is no longer so black and white.
A new look at the old grey
A recent study conducted by British scientists concluded that grey hair is actually caused by hydrogen peroxide. Yes, the same substance we used to bleach ourselves blonde! Our skin cells naturally produce tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide as a safeguard against bacteria. Meanwhile, our bodies also produce an enzyme called catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. But as we age, we produce lesser amounts of catalase, which results in increased levels of hydrogen peroxide in our bodies. And this is now thought to be the real reason we go grey.
It’s an exciting scientific breakthrough that is sure to be followed by further studies into techniques that can counteract or reverse this excess hydrogen peroxide in our bodies. Stay tuned for a variety of products to start cropping up within the next few years – the race is on!
In the meantime, there are other factors you can try to see if they affect the rate at which your hair loses its signature hue. Grey hair can be the result of a medical condition, so if you notice that you are greying quickly, see a doctor to make sure you don’t have a vitamin B12 deficiency or a thyroid imbalance. Also, smokers are four times more likely to have grey hair than non-smokers, so butt out! An added incentive is that smoking has also been linked to hair loss. And erectile dysfunction in men. And cancer!
While grey hair is caused generally by your age and your genetic composition, the health tips in this article can give you a fighting chance while you await the flurry of colour-rescuing products that are sure to follow the latest scientific advancements in grey hair!