When you already 30, your chances of getting grey hair are increased 10 to 20 percent with each passing decade. It is a fact that everyone will get the grey hair in the end. You hair color comes out from the pigment called melanin.
Every hair may contain dark melanin (eumelanin) and light melanin (pheomelanin), which mix together in order to make many shades of hair among people. When you’re young, special pigment stem cell called melanocytes, inject pigment into keratin-containing cells. This keratin, a protein, makes up your hair and it’s responsible for giving it its color. As the years pass, melanin is reducing, thus your hair turns grey or after all white, which means there’s no melanin left.
Scientists Discover Gene Linked to Graying Hair
What exactly causes melanin to be reduced and hair to turn gray has remained a mystery, until now. An international team of researchers has discovered the first gene linked to gray hair.
- The study involved a genome-wide association scan in more than 6,000 Latin Americans to look for genes related to features of scalp hair and facial hair, including graying, balding, beard thickness, monobrow, eyebrow thickness and more).
A gene that has previously been linked to blonde hair in Europeans turned out to be connected to gray hair as well and accounted for about 30 percent of hair graying among the study participants.
- The other 70 percent is likely due to factors such as age, environment, stress and more. The researchers plan to look for ways to manipulate this genetic pathway to prevent hair from turning gray (including drugs, which I would not recommend taking for the purpose of changing your hair color).
Kaustubh Adhikari, Ph.D, a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, told TIME:
“We might have drugs that boost or stop the protein from acting and change the amount of melanin in hair follicles and change the hair internally … So once the hair comes out like the way you want, you don’t have [to] go out and buy dyes.”
Does Your Hair Have Its Own ‘Biological Clock?’
Stated by Desmond Tobin, PhD professor of Cell Biology from the University of Bradford in England, your hair follicles may be managed by a ‘melanogenetic clock’ which ultimately slows down the activity of melanocyte cells. In addition, as reported by the Library of Congress:
“… Tobin suggests that hair turns grey because of age and genetics, in that genes regulate the exhaustion of the pigmentary potentials of each individual hair follicle.”
This happens in various rates in various hair follicles. For some people it happens rapidly, while in others it happens slowly over several decades.
It is familiar that white people may start going grey in their mid-30s, while Asians commonly go grey in their late 30s. African Americans don’t go grey until their mid-40s.
What Else Causes Gray Hair?
Other factors for why hair turns gray include:
• Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known tool for bleaching your hair, but many people aren’t aware that your hair cells make hydrogen peroxide, too.
As you age, the amount produced increases, which researchers believe ultimately bleaches out your hair pigment, turning your hair grey and then white.
• Smoking: There is a significant association between tobacco use and graying of hair.8 Cigarette smoking is also linked to premature hair graying, with the onset of gray hair occurring before the age of 30.
• Oxidative stress: Oxidative stress can be defined as the state in which your free radicals (from pollution, poor diet, stress, etc.) outnumber your antioxidant defenses (from healthy diet). Graying hair may be an indicator of oxidative stress-induced damage.
Research has also shown that people with premature graying had a higher level of pro-oxidants and lower levels of antioxidants than those with normal hair.
• Vitamin B12 deficiency: This is also linked to premature gray hair, and there is at least one report of pigmentation returning to hair after the vitamin deficiency was resolved.
Is Premature Gray Hair an Indicator of Health Problems?
It is believed that, when going gray too early, it’s probably genetic. If you have someone in your family that has this problem, it is most likely that you’ll have it too. Obesity might be related to graying, thus it can be a cause of other health problems as well. By its nature, going gray earlier could be a crucial risk marker for the bone condition known as osteopenia.
As stated in research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people who go gray earlier without other identifiable risk factors, were 4.4 times as likely yo have osteopenia as those without premature graying.
The researches recommended:
“The association between premature graying and low bone mass could be related to genes that control peak bone mass or factors that regulate bone turnover.”
Other health issues that have been connected to premature graying are: thyroid disorders, anemia and vitilligo. It’s also been related with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in young smokers. Reported by researches:
“Premature graying of hair can be used as preliminary evidence by clinicians for classifying patients at risk for premature CAD especially in smokers.”
Does Stress Cause Gray Hair?
It is wildly believe that stress also causes graying (and many parents or teenagers or former presidents, whose hair often turns gray during office would likely agree with that). When is talked about this, scientists come up short, save a 2011 study published in the Journal Nature and led by Nobel Prize winner D-r Robert Lefkowitz. That study showed that chronic stress and frequent activation of the ‘fight’ and ‘flight’ stress response leads to DNA damage that may occur not only aging but cancer, neuropsychiatric conditions and miscarriages as well as affect the genes which control hair pigment.
Scientists Reveal Two Potential ‘Cures’ for Gray Hair
- Scientists consider that they are close to the remedy for gray hair. Researches at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre have isolated the Wnt protein, which coordinates pigmentation between melanocytes and other type of stem cell that guides the development of hair follicles. When the researches constrained the Wnt pathway in black mice, they turned gray.
- They consider that if by adding the Wnt protein to hair products may cure the gray hair. In the meantime, in a follow-up to the original study that connected gray hair to a build up or hydrogen peroxide, scientists confessed that the UVB-activated compound known as PC-KUS may reverse the hydrogen peroxide build up and successfully cure gray hair. The treatment also work with people with vitiligo in order to restore skin color. D-r Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, who published a study, said to Medical News Today:
- “For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair, but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem, has been developed.”
- This search for cure for the gray hair indicates that gray hair is a huge problem with people. There’s nothing that bad to have gray hair. From a health point of view you’re far better off going gray than using toxic hair dyes, indeed. And if you’re considering of embracing your silver locks, it’s ‘now or never’ time!
- There’s a trend so-called ‘granny hair’ with people paying a lot of money to go gray. If you are lucky enough to have it on natural way, it is time to show it up. A hair stylist from New York Jan-Marie Arteca, declared Reuters:
- “Granny hair is basically silver hair, any tone of grey in your hair: steel grey, silvery grey, really, really white, platinum-ish with either violet or silver undertones…That’s the trend.”