Why Does Hair Turn Gray As We Age

It is a nightmare for all of us to imagine the day, silver strands of hair to pop up and make us question ourselves- “am I getting older”. None of us must have missed out those commercials on hair dyeing or coloring. Yes, the fact is that the graying of hair or the color changing to white or silver is a natural episode of getting older.

It is very important to understand as to how and why do hair turn grey. Actually, each strand of hair has two components namely a shaft and a root. The part of the hair that comes out of the head with a color forms the shaft and the bottom part of the hair that goes under the scalp becomes the root. There is a tube of tissue that surrounds the root of the hair which is called a hair follicle which again is made up of certain number of pigment cells that produces a chemical called melanin. This chemical is the one that gives color to the shaft of the hair producing shades like black, brown, red, blonde etc. Thus the darkness or the lightness of one’s hair is determined by the amount of melanin each strand of hair contains. With age the pigment ells containing the melanin also gradually lose life making the hair look more transparent, may be gray or white or silver. Finally in long run the hair will look entirely gray.

However graying of hair is not restricted to old age and can develop at any age. Some people develop premature graying of hair as early as in schooldays whereas there are also others who get their first gray hair only in their 30’s or 40’s.In this case the time of graying is also determined by one’s genes.

Let’s look into some interesting facts about gray hair.

  • The popular belief that plucking of one gray hair will give rise to many more is absolutely false.
  • It is hard to dye grey hair due to its resistance to hair color which is naturally because of the decreased melanin secretion.
  • Deficiency in B12 or an imbalance in your thyroid glands can as well gray your hair.
  • There is a term used called “salt and pepper” for your hair when it is partially colored and partially white.
  • Smoking not only contributes to hair loss in many but also makes it 4 times more likely to have early gray hair.
  • People with darker hair get caught fast with gray hair as it becomes easily noticeable when it stands out.

Your hair is your pride and nowhere does a grey hair fascinate you. However, you can either color your hair to mask the grey strands or you can flaunt it as a tint or shade; the choice is yours.

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