It happens to most of us… as with all things ageing-related, going grey might seem to be inevitable, but do you know exactly why it happens. Here’s five facts for all you silver foxes out there:
# 1 How does hair turn grey
Unpigmented hair is white, but the vast majority of us have melanin in our skin and hair that gives us our colour. Two types of melanin – eumalanin which is dark brown or black and phaeo-melanin that appears red/yellow – combine in varying degrees to produce our hair colour. The theory is that ageing slows down melanin production or the hair follicles accessing the melanin, which results in grey, silver and white hair.
# 2 Plucking grey hairs will cause more grey hairs to grow
This is a myth – your hair follicles only ever contain one hair strand so if you pluck a hair out, it will just be replaced by another single hair strand eventually. This might relate to the fact that grey hairs often seem thicker or more wiry. Even though this is just an old wives’ tale, it’s best not to go overboard on plucking as it could damage your hair follicle, preventing regrowth.
# 3 It’s in your genes
This is true; when and how your hair will turn grey is predetermined by your genes at both. So, if your father or grandfather when prematurely grey then you are likely to.
# 4 Stress can turn you grey
This is not so clear cut. Some scientists believe that genes alone determine the age you’ll turn grey and the pattern it will follow, whereas other scientists have found a link between how the body responds to traumatic episodes and premature ageing which includes greying hair.
# 5 Smoking can turn you grey before your time
There is a solid link between smoking and premature ageing and one study has found a relationship between smoking and going grey under the age of 30.