No one will ever be a stranger to gray hair. As we age, sooner or later we’ll be bound to find some gray hairs here and there. While it’s not unusual to have gray hair once you hit your senior years, many men and women discover that they have them ever since their late 20s. Research shows that every 10 years, the chances of developing gray hair once you reach your 30s have gone up by 10-20%. So what can we do to stop this?
What Causes Gray Hair?
Hair is formed from a protein named keratin, and the reason why we have all these different colors is because of the pigment called melanin. There are basically two kinds of melanin in your hair, light and dark. These two types mix together and give us our hair color.
Did you notice how since adolescence, your hair starts changing color and becomes darker? Well, that’s due to the fact that your body produces even more melanin. But as we grow older, the melanin production slows down until there’s none, and your hair turns white.
So why can’t our bodies produce melanin anymore?
Factors that Cause Gray Hair
There are two big reasons why people start having gray hair. The first reason is, of course, age. The older you are, the more it affects your hair pigmentation. Studies refer to this as a “melanogentic clock”, since our hair follicles can’t receive any pigmentation.
Studies have also linked gray hair to a gene. Researchers have found a gene responsible for gray hair that is connected to the blonde European hair. This gene is said to regulate the production of melanin and influence the body’s ability to produce it as well.
30% of the people studied were developing premature gray hair because of this gene. The other 70% were because of other factors, and here are some examples:
- Smoking: Smoking has been linked to premature facial aging, which is why there’s no wonder that your hair will suffer from it as well. If you want to avoid gray hair due to smoking, the best plan would be to quit.
- Family history: most of the time, genetics is the one that folds the deck. If you have many members of your family suffering from premature gray hair, it will probably happen to you as well.
- Oxidative stress: This can be brought on by poor diets or high levels of stress. There are more free radicals in your body than antioxidants, so you start getting gray hair.
- Deficiencies: If your body doesn’t receive its essential nutrients, it will cause your hair to age before its time.
Researchers are now coming up with ways to cure premature gray hair. They’ve discovered that a protein called Wnt is the one that aids in the development of hair, so adding it to a hair product could stop your hair from graying. Keep waiting for new discoveries and your hair will stay in full color!