Gray hair is not just about age. We explain why we get gray hair and we will see what we can do to prevent and delay them.
We are all concerned about the appearance of gray hair as they generally make us look older and we tend to dye our hair to hide it. But really, what are they and why do we get gray hair?
Hair color depends on its melanin content, which is a natural pigment produced in cells called melanocytes. Oxidative stress is the main cause of aging and, in the case of our hair, these cells stop producing melanin and the hair loses its color. Read on, we show you all the details about its appearance and how to avoid and remove gray hair.
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Why does white hair grow up?
As we age, hair turns gray due to a biological process that is influenced by different factors. We have already said that the main cause is a lack of melanin, but some people start having gray hair too young. So is there something else behind hair bleaching?
The main causes of why premature graying come out are the following:
- Stress, which alters the functioning of hormones and metabolism and can affect melanin production.
- Genetics is another very important factor for the appearance of gray hair.
- Certain nutritional deficiencies.
- Some diseases such as vitiligo, vitamin deficiency, or other antioxidants such as iron, copper or zinc, hypothyroidism, or the pathology of Werner syndrome are factors that can trigger the appearance of gray hair prematurely.
- Poor hair hygiene or excessive use of very hot water.
- The use of chemical products or agents such as dyes and the abuse or misuse of the dryer or the iron, as well as tobacco or certain medications.
Hair color is determined by two types of stem cells: those that are responsible for the development of hair follicles and stem cells that determine hair color, that is, melanocytes. Some experts have also pointed out that gray hair arises from the excess hydrogen peroxide produced in the hair cells.
Besides, the loss of pigment that begins at the temples and extends to the back of the head is associated with age, which is known as physiological grayness. The physiological range varies depending on the breed, being the white and yellow breed those that were previously affected by this condition. When hair begins to turn gray before the age of 20, genetic factors or rare genetic pathologies intervene in this early gray.
It can also happen that they appear in localized areas, which is called poliosis and is usually a hereditary condition. Another type is the so-called annular groove, which is white hair distributed scattered and isolated by the head.
What’s behind the gray hair
When the hair loses its color over the years, it not only warns us that we are aging, but that we must be alert to other possible problems. Thus, a study by the University of Cairo, Egypt, concluded that there was an association of gray hair with an increased risk of heart disease in men. The main author of this study, Irini Samuel, explained why gray hair comes out.
As he explained: “Aging is an inevitable coronary risk factor and is associated with dermatological signs that could indicate an increased risk.”
These experts were able to find a high score for hair bleaching that was related to an increased risk of coronary disease. Furthermore, this risk was present regardless of age and cardiovascular risk factors. Participants in the analysis who suffered from coronary artery disease had a higher score when it came to gray hair.
Now that you know why gray hair appears, follow the tips below and not only will you avoid gray hair, but it will also improve your quality of life.
How to remove gray hair
According to many researchers, hair bleaching can be prevented or even reversed by eating foods rich in catalase, such as leeks, avocados, spinach, onions, peaches, pineapple, potatoes, radishes, carrot or beef liver.
Also, there are shampoos and hair products that contain an antioxidant enzyme present in the hair bulb and can help strengthen melanocytes. This is the case of the onion shampoo.
Therefore, some factors promote the appearance of gray hair and some remedies to avoid it are:
- Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet because, in this case, it is essential to eat foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients.
- Caring for your hair is basic, so use natural dyes or slightly aggressive coloring products with your hair to hide gray hair. Scalp massages can also help.
- Quit tobacco and reduce alcohol consumption.
- Avoid stress and do relaxation techniques, such as yoga, tai chi, or a sport that helps you release tension.
The Bottom Line
The first gray hairs usually appear between the ages of 20 and 30 and little by little they will appear more. This cannot be remedied, but with all these tips you can slow down the oxidative process and delay its appearance. And remember, it is very important to prevent gray hair since once they appear the most effective remedy that you can use is the dye. If you want to read more about hair then visit our Hair Care category.