Gray hair is one of those inevitable facts of life. Regardless if you think going gray is dignified or you’re horrified by finding that first gray strand, it can be comforting to understand why gray hair is happening and if there is anything that you can do about it. Here’s what you need to know about going gray.
Your Ethnicity Makes a Difference
Scientists haven’t figured out why but people of different ethnicities go gray at different types. Caucasians tend to go gray the earliest – during their mid 30s, Asians can go gray in their late 30s and African Americans go gray in their mid-40s.
Premature Gray Hair
The reason why your hair turns gray is because the color-producing cells will stop producing your natural. Most people, regardless of race will be 50% gray by 50, therefore, generally speaking, a Caucasian is considered to be prematurely going gray if his/her hair turns gray by age 20 and before 30 for African-Americans and Asians.
However, it may be a problem with your thyroid or pituitary gland, so don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about getting them tested.
Your Diet Makes a Difference
Low vitamin B12 levels are linked to causing loss of hair pigment. Be conscious of getting your B vitamins by eating foods such as liver and carrots. Eat a healthy diet rich in nutritious-dense foods and you’ll fight off chronic diseases and even going gray!
Your Hair Doesn’t Turn Gray – It Grows that Way
A single strand of hair grows for one to three years and then becomes one of those loose strands that you find hanging on your clothes and you grow a new strand. As you age, your new hairs are increasingly likely to be white/gray. Every time your hair regenerates, you have to re-form pigment-forming cells, but over time, they wear out. It’s totally natural!
Hair and Hair Color are Separate
You have hair stem cells that make hair (keratinocytes), and pigment-forming stem cells (melanocyte) that make pigment. They generally work together to recreate your beautiful natural color, but over time, they wear out and for some reason, melanocyte cells wear out faster. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about this. Fortunately, going gray is much easier to hide with a hair dye.
The Connection Between Stress and Gray Hair
Legend says that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned white the night before she was guillotined because of the agonizing stress she experienced. Although this is probably unlikely, the age old question of a potential connection between stress and grays has beee studied and debated. The generally accepted answer is that gray hair is predetermined by genetics. However, stress does manifest in hair loss and shedding, which can result in premature depigmentation in those who are predisposed to become a silver fox.
If you’re going gray or you just spotted that first gray strand, don’t worry. It’s completely natural and a beautiful part of life’s state of constant change. If you’re not ready to embrace gray, then simply dye your hair, but if you are, it’s right on trend!