Why Does Our Hair Turn Grey? By Marianne Leffert
Have you, or one of your friends ever noticed a new grey hair on your head!? It doesn’t matter if you were in your early teens or middle-aged when you first noticed that first grey hair. It is inevitable that we all get them at one point or another. But why? Why does our hair turn grey?
Let’s start with why our hair has any color at all. While our hair is growing, there is something called melanocytes. This is just a big fancy word for the cells that make the color in our hair and even our skin. These melanocytes make the color and pass it on to other cells called progenitor cells at the very bottom of our hair follicles. This is what makes the elements for growing hair.
While our hair is growing, the color is always being added with these melanocytes which is how we get our individual hair color. Usually hair grows about 1 centimeter per month. But as we get older the cells in our body become more and more damaged throughout our lifetime, essentially as we get older so do our cells. As our hair making cells (progenitor cells) get old, the color making cells (melanocytes) get lost and the next hairs that will grow are grey or white.
But wait a minute, why do some of us get grey hair in our late teens or early twenties and some lucky individuals keep their natural hair color all the way until there late fifties? A research from 2016 showed that some people have a certain human gene are prone to earlier grey hairs.
Now does constantly being stressed out cause grey hair? The answer is no; there is no science that proves grey hair is directly linked to stress. However, can health problems cause early destruction of melanocytes? Yes. On rare occasions, early grey hair can be caused by health problems like thyroid disease or complications with the pituitary gland. You will likely see problems with hair greying or even falling out when someone suffers from an autoimmune disease because their skin and hair will be affected, for example alopecia or vitiligo.
Everyone’s hair is different and it is all in our genetic structure. If your parents had grey hair early on in life, you probably will too. So, it’s up to you whether you embrace the grey or even explore completely different hair colors with hair dye.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.