Why Are You Going Grey?

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One of the first, and most irksome signs of aging that crops up for most people is grey hair. The majority of people see their first grey hair by age 30, and it’s all downhill from there. People blame their grey hair on everything from their spouse to chlorinated water, but what’s really causing our locks to lose their hues? Science has the answer for us.

It’s Not From Stress

Your mother probably blames all of her grey hair on you, but you don’t have to let her get away with that. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that stress causes grey hair, although this is the go-to scapegoat for most people. Diet or lifestyle don’t seem to play any sort of roll in greying hair either. Some illnesses and medications can cause hair to grey, but these are very rare cases.

Genetics and Follicle Damage

As it turns out, grey hair has much more to do with who your parents are than how stressful your kids are. Genetics plays the biggest role in greying hair, and you can usually expect to go grey around the same age, and at the same rate that either of your parents did. You begin to go grey when pigment producing cells within your hair follicle die out, mostly due to damage and injury. When these cells are damaged, they stop producing pigment, and the next cycle of hair from that follicle will come in grey.

The Cure for Grey Hair

The trick to stopping grey hair is to keep the pigment producing cells in the follicle healthy and free from injury. French scientists think they may be able to do just that, using antioxidative agents that protect pigment cells (melanocytes) from damage, allowing follicles to produce pigmented hair for longer. These treatments wouldn’t reverse already grey hair, but they could keep healthy pigment cells from dying out. These treatments are still in the development phase, but the future is looking promising for those who want to keep the grey at bay.

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