The appearance of gray hair is not always a consequence of the onset of old age. Gray hair can occur in middle age and even at a young age.
Gray hair in an elderly person is normal from the point of view of human physiology. But gray hair at a younger age makes you think about at least two things: where does gray hair come from and how to get rid of it.
How gray hair differs from ordinary hair
First of all, gray hair differs from ordinary hair in color. Grayish-silver (sometimes with a touch of yellowness) hair color – this is gray hair. It cannot be confused with natural hair color.
Hair color depends on the content of melanin pigment in each hair, produced by cells called melanocytes. The more melanin in the hair, the darker it is. Its amount is a genetic factor. In other words, hair color is given to us from birth.
The more active the melanocytes are, the darker the hair in humans. But it happens that for some reason, the cells begin to behave passively, and then the hair becomes gray. That is, gray hair is the result of insufficient activity of the said melanocytes.
Causes of gray hair and how to prevent them
Graying is usually divided into three types:
- Physiological – arising due to age-related changes. It is also called natural.
- Premature, it occurs in middle age.
- Congenital, or leukotrichia, is a hereditary feature in which there is no pigment in the hair.
By nature, graying is also divided into three types:
- full – all hair is gray;
- partial – only some hairs turn gray;
- focal – hair turns gray in certain areas, for example, on the temples.
Now let’s talk about why gray hair grows.
The human body is so arranged that with age it begins to produce less and less melanin. Doctors say: there is even a certain rule on this score, called 50/50/50. That is, by the age of 50, 50% of all people have 50% gray hair.
A person can turn gray due to congenital genetic characteristics. They are usually inherited. It also matters what race he belongs to. It has been proven that gray hair in the European race is formed earlier than in Africans and Asians.
Certain diseases can also cause gray hair: thyroid disease, autoimmune. You can turn gray ahead of time due to taking medications, for example, with Parkinson’s disease.
Chemotherapy can also cause gray hair. In addition, diseases such as atherosclerosis, vitiligo, shingles, Wardenburg’s syndrome, Werner’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, and insufficient production of sex hormones can also cause gray hair.
A separate item is diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Due to diseased blood vessels in the body, oxygen starvation occurs, including in the hair follicles, metabolism is disrupted, as a result of which the full production of a natural dye, melanin, is paralyzed.
Here you can also add gastrointestinal diseases. In particular, gastritis and ulcers with low acidity. Such diseases do not allow the absorption of trace elements and vitamins, which is the cause of gray hair.
For this reason, the body may develop a lack of vitamins of groups A, B, C, as well as minerals – calcium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, sulfur.
In this case, gray hair is the body’s reaction to the lack of the above substances. In this sense, low-protein diets and vegetarianism are especially dangerous.
Due to stress, a spasm of the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles can occur. As a result, melanocytes die, the coloring pigment stops flowing into the hair canals, hence the gray hair.
In addition, under stress, a large amount of adrenaline enters the bloodstream, due to which melanin loses its connection with proteins contained in hair. For this reason, the coloring pigment is washed out of the hair.
Perms, frequent hair discoloration
This is another reason for premature gray hair. This can also include the abuse of aggressive shampoos for washing hair, as well as styling and styling products.
There are specific reasons for the appearance of gray hair in women. One of the most important is depletion of the body. Problems can arise from difficult pregnancies and prolonged breastfeeding.
In addition, frequent pregnancies and, accordingly, the same frequent childbirth, when a woman does not have time to recover from a previous pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, can deplete the body.
As a result, there is a lack of iron (iron deficiency anemia), which leads to early gray hair.
First of all, this is the ingestion of salts of heavy metals: lead, mercury, copper. They affect the stomach, intestines, nervous system, blood vessels and heart. Salts also damage the hair, removing the coloring pigment from it.
First of all, it is, of course, nicotine and alcohol. Both have a destructive effect on the entire body, including the hair, which can turn gray much earlier than the time intended by nature.
How can you disguise gray hair
We found out why the gray hair appears. The next question is how to deal with it.
It should be said right away: it is impossible to get rid of gray hair. These are the laws of human nature. If you pull them out, then exactly the same gray hair will appear again in the same place. In addition, in this way, you can harm the hair follicle or ensure that inflammation, or even dermatitis, begins in the damaged area.
However, gray hair can be disguised, this applies equally to women and men.
The best way to disguise gray hair is to dye it.
If there are relatively few gray hairs (up to 25%), it is better to apply such coloring methods as coloring, camouflage or toning.
If the gray hair has spread to the entire head, then the hair can be dyed with a natural dye, basma or henna, or with a permanent chemical paint. You can do this at home, but it is better – in a beauty salon, a specialist will assess the condition of the hair and select the optimal method of coloring.
You can also “hide” gray hair with the help of folk remedies:
- a decoction of acorns will paint the gray hair black;
- decoction of onion peels will make your hair red;
- decoction of nettle will make hair brown;
- chamomile broth – golden.
Natural dyes can have unpredictable results or no effect at all.
Another way to disguise is a haircut. For women, an asymmetrical multi-layered hairstyle is better suited, which perfectly hides gray hair, for men – a short haircut.
However, gray hair is not such a problem as it might seem. Many men and women, thanks to gray hair, look especially impressive and attractive.