We look at the reasons why we have gray hair, why some people are more prone to graying hair than others before, and whether it’s possible to delay or stop this process altogether.
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Why we are going white
The pigment that is responsible for colouring our hair is called melanin, and it’s is produced in specific cells called melanocytes. When pigment production ceases, our hair starts graying. Here are several factors that can influence this process:
With age, the production of melanin naturally decreases. It’s called the 50/50/50 principle: by the age of 50, 50% of the population has 50% gray hair. Actually, scientists looked into this and got more accurate figures: 74% of people aged 45 to 65 years have about 27% of gray hair, on average.
As a rule, the first gray hairs appear around the age of 30 or later. If pigmentation is lost earlier, we can talk of premature graying.
#2. Genetic factors
The age when first gray hairs appear and the speed of graying is, of course, hereditary. This has been scientifically confirmed. So if your parents have started going white quite early, then it’s likely, that the same fate awaits you, too.
Gray hairs may appear due to problems with the thyroid gland, an autoimmune diseases or progeria. Also, sometimes graying occurs due to chemotherapy or when taking certain medications.
This pernicious habit has a negative effect on both skin condition and hair color. According to a 2013 study, smokers are more prone to premature graying by 2.5 times.
#5. Vitamin B12 deficiency
The lack of vitamin B12 provokes premature hair graying, as well as hair loss. The good news is that the loss of pigment in this case is reversible.
According to popular belief, graying hair can appear due to nervous tension. There are studies that have seemingly confirmed this cause-and-effect link, but on the whole, scientists are doubtful. In any case, stress has a bad effect on your health, so try to manage its levels.
Is there a way to prevent graying hair?
There are no preventive measures against age-related or hereditary hair discoloration. So the only advice here is us stating the obvious: want to get rid of gray hair, dye it.
There are also less long-term solutions:
1. To dye hair using hair ink. It’s great for disguising individual strands, and is easily washed off with water.
2. Use the products for masking graying roots. They are available in the form of spray or powder and hold until you wash them off with shampoo.
3. Use a color shampoo. It does not wash off as quickly as previous remedies, and sticks to hair for several days.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, you can pull out gray hairs, this will not cause more gray hair to appear, but another gray hair will grow in the place of the one you’ve pulled. Such a radical way does harm hair follicles, though, so try to resort to more lax measures.
If you’re not yet in the graying hair age bracket, and it’s not in your genetics:
#1. Quit smoking (or do not start at all).
#2. Eat products of animal origin, especially the liver: it contains vitamin B12. Vitamin supplements should be taken only after consulting a doctor.
#3. By the way, do a health check-up: maybe it will be possible to stop both early graying and the diseases that cause it.
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#4. Learn to deal with stress. As mentioned above, it’s not 100% that this will stop graying, but at least… you will be less nervous because of it.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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