Graying of hair was considered as phenomenon of forties and that was the way of aging gracefully. One gray hair in thirties was also good enough to trigger the panic button but now the scenario has changed. Graying of hair starts right from twenties and there is no much buzz created about it. The original hair color is not there to stay anymore as fashion colors are gaining popularity amongst people of all ages. Though graying of hair is becoming normal, the concern is still there. Premature graying is not just normal and may indicate some underlying health condition.The reasons can be hereditary, environmental or due to some vitamin deficiency.
What is the biological reason for graying of hair?
Hair gets its color from melanocyte which are the cells producing melanin and are found in hair follicles. The color of nails and skin is also the result of melanin. The melanocytes have their fixed life span and would generate melanin based on the individual genes. The melanin production ends after the melanocyte dies. When there is less or no melanin produced, new hair growth would be lighter or lastly come out as gray.This is the biological reason but there are many other reasons for premature graying as mentioned here.
- Experimenting with hair – Earlier there was not much experimentation done with hair and the natural color of the hair was retained for the lifetime. The graying was completely a natural process but now a days people tend to experiment a lot with their natural color and texture of hair. The chemical treatments may to some extend affect the lifespan of melanocytes. Chemicals may break the natural bonds of hair and that would not be favorable in long run.
- Genetic effect –Genes make the difference. If you have lighter complexion then graying would be normal process for you even in your 20s as you have low melanin production because of your genes. Similarly darker complexion means more melanin production and for such people, graying of hair even in thirties would be early. Scientists have found that genes play the largest role in graying of hair.
- Medical Issues – Graying of hair is natural process and mostly not related to any underlying health condition but in some cases it can be because of low nutrition intake and lack of vitamin. Deficiency of vitamin B12 is considered to be one of the reasons for premature graying and that can be rectified by covering up for this deficiency in time. The relation between premature graying and low bone density was also established in 2007, by a study carried out on 1200 subjects of California. Graying can also be the result of some long term illness which may have made your immune system work more and also deprived your body of vital nutrients.
Reversing the gray