Why Do We Get (Premature) Grey Hair?

Asians and Africans have less grey hair than Caucasians.

Cover image via Cooking Light

Contrary to popular belief, it is not due to stress!

While scientists are not sure exactly why some people's hair go grey early, genes in addition to a vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with our pituitary or thyroid gland play a large role. Also, Asians and Africans have less grey hair than Caucasians.

Don’t worry, this isn't caused by stress!

Image via Frankieleon/Flickr

While going grey is a perfectly normal and unavoidable part of gradual aging, there is no evidence to link greying to diet or lifestyle

"Early greying occurs in premature ageing syndromes such as Hutchinson’s-progeria and Werner syndrome, where every aspect ageing in the body is accelerated. Premature greying can also be seen in people affected by pernicious anaemia, autoimmune thyroid disease or Down syndrome,"explains Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Dermatology, in this piece, adding that men generally have more grey hair than women.

Basically, hair goes grey when colour-producing cells stop producing pigment. In addition to that, naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide can also build up in the hair, bleaching the colour.

Now if you are wondering, "So, why doesn’t pigment production turn back on?", Professor Rodney Sinclair has the answer below.

At the end of each hair cycle, some pigment-producing melanocytes become damaged and die. If the melanocyte stem cell reservoir at the top of the hair follicle can replenish the bulb, this keeps pigment production going. But when the reservoir of stem cells is exhausted, pigment production stops and the hair turns grey.

Speaking of hair, check out these local barber shops:

Worried about greying hair? Grey hair might be cool when you purposefully dye it at the ends but it is still a social stigmatism that grey haired people are deemed ageing. Worry not, as you can look for ways to disguise your grey strands by colouring your hair. Click for hair dressing coupons for hair and beauty deals.

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