grey hairAccording to a recent study, 32% of British women under the age of 30 have already started to go grey. That’s almost double what it was in 1995, when just 18% of women found their first grey hair in their twenties.

What causes us to go grey early?

Scientists and hair loss experts are divided on this one, with some blaming the stresses of modern life – the culture of starting work early and finishing late, and the constant presence of a smartphone meaning we can pick up work emails wherever we are, at whatever time of day. Many scientists, however, claim that stress cannot play a role in melanin production – the reduction in which is what causes our hair to turn grey – and that genetics, ethnicity and gender have a much greater impact, with caucasians likely to go grey earlier than their Asian or African counterparts, men earlier than women, and those of us whose parents or grandparents turned grey early the most likely of all to find a grey hair in our youth. A link has been shown between a build-up of hydrogen peroxide and prematurely greying hair, however, so think twice before reaching for the bleach.

What can we do about it?

Unfortunately, science has not yet found a way to reverse the process of greying hair. That process begins when your body stops producing melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its colour, and that will happen at a different time for everyone. Once the melanin has gone, it cannot be brought back, so the options are to accept your grey hair and make the most of it – after all, these days some bright young things are even dyeing their hair grey – or to dye it and hide those grey hairs away.

Why shouldn’t we pluck it?

There are many myths surrounding the problem of plucking out grey hairs – most common of which is that plucking one grey hair will somehow spread the greyness to the surrounding hairs, leaving you worse off than you were before. This particular theory is not true, however plucking your hairs could leave you worse off in another way as plucking causes trauma to the hair follicle, which, if repeated often enough could result in that follicle ceasing to produce hair all together, leading to thinning hair and hair loss.



By Ian Watson


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