Health Facts

Understanding Grey Hair and Health

Understanding Grey Hair and Health

Grey hair can be a distressing problem and whenever the first grey hair appears, it makes you feel like you are starting to ‘age’ or beginning to ‘grow old’.

In most cases, grey hair comes out at the temples before ‘spreading’ to other parts of your scalp and before you know it, you are trying to dye your hair black all around. Typically, you will start seeing grey hair around the age of 30 and it has been found that by 50, 5 out of 10 people will start losing more than half of their original hair colour while you could experience hair loss at an older age. In fact, statistics show that men are more likely to have more grey hair than women which occur more frequently among Caucasians.

Colour of Hair – Melanocytes are the cells that produce the colour of your hair. Pigments are made and then incorporated into the hair fibre that grows. Eumelanins and pheomelamins are the 2 types of melanins that determine the shade of your hair. Eumelanins are brown and black pigments while pheomelanins are the red and yellow pigments. A pregnant woman would have high levels of oestrogen and progesterone which are melanocyte-stimulating hormones known to darken hair.

Hair Growth – Your body’s hair grows on a cyclical process. The anagen phase is when your hair grows the fastest, usually about 1cm per month and can be about 3 to 5 months. After that, the follicle is turned off and your hair stops growing for 3 months known as the telogen or resting phase. Then, the hair is shed and anagen phase comes around again.

Hair Colour – As mentioned, your hair colour is determined by melanocytes. You might have been told that stress might cause your hair to turn grey. So far, there are not concrete or conclusive evidence to prove that stress or diet is linked to grey hair. In fact, grey hair is more associated with your genes instead of the way you live your life.

Recent Findings – Preventing hair from turning grey can be done by prolonging the life of the melanocytes in the hair bulb. Meanwhile, a new series of agents that can protect hair follicle melanocytes from damage was found recently.

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