Have you ever wondered what causes grey hairs to sprout up, confirming the inevitable fact of ageing? If so, you're not alone. This short blog will explain the science behind going grey, from what triggers it, to whether it can be prevented. Here's what you need to know...
- When do most people start to grey then
Most people begin to see grey hairs in their thirties, however, by the time most people in their 50’s will experience more than 50% of their scalp hairs turning grey.
- So, why do we get grey hair?
As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color — like grey, silver, or white as it grows.
- Is it possible to slow the rate of greying hair?
Nutritional and hormonal factors can affect hair colour as well as stress but, by and large, the predisposition to go grey earlier or later in life is genetic. If your parents have grey hair, the chances are that you will have grey hair too.
- Is grey hair more common in certain people?
Grey hair is an inherited trait - if your parents went grey at an early age there is a possibility that you will too. Caucasians typically experience grey hair earlier because of a lack of melanin. Health conditions such as diabetes, pernicious anemia or thyroid problems can also cause premature greying.
- What should we eat to maintain healthy hair?
Hair consists of protein (keratin) so protein is extremely important for strong healthy hair. Foods like eggs and fish are all good sources of protein. Proteins also consist of amino acids (some essential and some non-essential) and essential amino acids are more abundant in animal protein and more easily absorbed into the blood stream. Deficiencies of iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, B12 and B6 are common and can cause hair to become weak and break, so it's important to eat foods that contain these vitamins. If you're vegetarian, it may be necessary to take them in supplemental form.