Its official…I am a puma…that’s right before you turn into a cougar (hit the 40s)! My day started off with finding a grey hair! Yes…never in a million years did I think that would ever happen to me…but it has! That’s just a little reminder that I am not only getting older, but also wiser. You hear so many tales about how you should and should not handle those white wirey threads coming out of your head. I’ll admit, as soon as I saw it, I pulled it right out! Haha I decided to do a little bit of research and here’s what I found.
Why does hair turn grey?
As we age, the pigment cells gradually die and become fewer in number. This leads to a reduction in the quantity of melanin. As a result, the hair becomes a more transparent color – like gray, silver, or white – as it grows. As people continue to get older, fewer pigment cells are around to produce melanin and, eventually, the hair becomes completely grey. For some the loss of melanin can happen earlier than normal. This is called premature greying.
There is no medical evidence to say stress can cause grey hairs to grow. To find the reason for your grey hairs, you need look no further than your parents! While there is strong evidence to show our individual ‘hair timeframe’ can be passed down from our parents, there is still debate as to the exact cause of hair greying and hair loss. Many believe that production of the pigment melanin is mediated by special stem cells, and that before these stem cells die (due to old age) they start to make ‘errors’. They suggest these ‘errors’ include insufficient melanin production, which can cause greying. There is no fixed age for a person’s hair to start turning grey. In general, the first strand of grey can make its appearance in the late 20s to mid 30s and for some lucky ones it can happen in the 40s also. The chance of a person going grey increases 10-20% every decade after 30 years.
Myth: You can reverse the greying hair process.
Truth: While there are a few methods for reversing graying hair, there are plenty of quack cure-alls that do nothing but raise false hope. For a quick grey hair fix, buy yourself a box of semi-permanent or permanent hair color. Or better yet, book an appointment with your stylist!
Myth: You can only use permanent hair color to cover up those stubborn gray hairs.
Truth: Those of you that are put off by the idea of a permanent hair color can relax – semi-permanent hair color covers those grey hairs just as well. It’s likely that this rumor started a few decades ago before semi-permanent hair color had developed into the better coverage formulas available today.
Myth: Hair can turn gray after a frightening event or trauma.
Truth: Hollywood has long ascribed to the myth that you can get gray hair due to a frightening event (just look at Frankenstein’s bride). But there’s absolutely no empirical proof that gray hair occurs suddenly due to severe shock or trauma. While we still may not exactly understand what it is in our genes that makes some of us get gray hair earlier than others, we do know that popular gray hair myths are preventing us from seeing the bigger picture.
How long does it take for hair to completely turn grey form the time the first strand of grey appears?
Turning grey is a gradual process and unless there is a medical condition it usually does not happen overnight i.e. over a short period of time. From the time the first strand of grey appears, it usually takes 10 years or so for the entire pate to turn grey.
What factors accelerate the graying process?
Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, Vitamin B12 deficiency, Anaemia, Vitiligo, resulting from loss of melanin and early menopause can accelerate the greying process.
Does hair color accelerate graying process?
Yes hair color can accelerate the graying process, especially if the hair color has high ammonium content.
Does smoking accelerate greying?
Yes smoking does accelerate the graying process. Smokers are four times more likely to have grey hair and premature hair loss. If you want to preserve your luscious hair color – and improve your health – then it’s time to ditch the smoking habit.
Is grey hair actually grey in color?
Grey hair not actually grey in color. It is actually transparent, but appears grey due to the dead cells in the strand of hair.
Why does the hair on the head turn grey faster than the hair on the other parts of the body?
At any point of time, the hair on the head appears greyer than the hair on the other parts of the body. This is because; hair on the head grows more actively than body hair. So the head becomes grey while other hairy parts remain the normal color.
Where does the first grey hair appear?
The most common areas on the scalp where the first grey hair appears is the area above the ears and/or at the temples. This first grey hair may spread around the sides and to the crown with time. Grey hair development in the beard and mustache may also start quite early, while grey hair on the chest and pubic region generally only occurs some years after onset of grey hair on the scalp
Does plucking one strand of grey gives birth to several at that point?
It is said that if you pluck out one gray hair, two or three will sprout in its place. This is not true. Plucking out grey hair does not multiply grey hair. It does damage the roots, causing infection or leaving a scar.
Does overexposure to sun result in grey hair?
Overexposure to the sun might also cause hair to gray early, but again there are two schools of thought on this. The theory is that ultraviolet rays cause pigment cells on the scalp to work overtime, just as they do on arms or legs when a person gets a tan. There is no concrete evidence of this. But some suggest wearing a hat or using hair care products that contain sunscreen as an ingredient.
Grey hair is not a reliable sign of ageing. Going grey does not mean that the body’s aging process has speeded up and the person is suddenly going to lose function in other areas.
Is it true that blonds grey faster?
Blondes are most likely to develop a completely white head of hair in old age because their hair fiber has a very low density of pigment in it to start with. Hair fibers of brunettes on the other hand have a higher concentration of pigments.
Finding the grey hair actually made me feel wiser and not older…this doesn’t mean I want to keep it around! haha Now that I have all the right info, I think it’s time to make my salon appointment to get my hair colored.