Why Does Hair Go Grey & What To Do About It
Ever had that moment looking in the mirror to see a hair brighter than the others then realise it’s a grey! But why does hair go grey in the first place?
Whilst being a silver fox has always been attractive for men – the likes of Phillip Schofield and George Clooney come to mind – and somewhere around three years ago, someone decided that grey hair was… *whispers* cool for women too.
The once shunned, reveal-your-age hair colour is now being embraced and even asked and paid for in hair salons! People want those fifty shades of grey… just in their hair.
Just ask Pinterest, their searches for ‘going grey’ has seen an 879% increase.
Image Source/ Pinterest
What exactly is a grey hair?
Well, in a shocking turn of events, it appears that a grey hair doesn’t actually exist. Seriously.
A ‘grey’ hair is actually white; the hair follicle has lost its melanin (pigment) which is produced from melanocyte stem cells. It just looks grey when with other pigmented hairs.
In more simple terms, when you stop creating melanin, your hair cycle grows back grey, rather than your usual colour.
Why does hair go grey?
Unless the melanin has been lost due to medication, the hair will be white forever. Health conditions such as thyroid disorders, a Vitamin B12 deficiency, an overactive immune system and pernicious anaemia can also cause pigment cells to temporarily lose their colour. Stress is another reason for premature greying.
The age that hairs turn grey is predominantly down to our genes. For example, if either of your parents had salt and pepper locks at a young age, then it is likely that you will too.
Now it’s important to acknowledge that not everybody will go grey. Genes and environmental factors play a big role in this. Those with red and blonde hair also don’t appear to go grey, just white as the years go by.
Gray hair and alopecia
For those who are unaware, alopecia areata is a condition where small patches of hair fall out.
Recent studies have shown that this autoimmune disease doesn’t attack the hair that grows white. Scientists are unsure why these hairs are spared and others fall out.
How do you take care of it?
White hair is prone to UV damage due to its lack of pigment. UV protective products such as Charles Worthington Sunshine Leave-In UV Protection Mini Spray Takeaway will help prevent any damage.
Similarly to blonde hair, white and grey hair can also go brassy very easily. Therefore using shampoo and conditioner with violet tones to prevent brassiness can help.
Applying smoothing products at the ends of the hair can also reduce frizzier and increase the appearance of thickness.
It may seem that grey hair is coarser than that which produces hair colour, but actually it’s finer! It simply seems drier as our scalps create less oil as we age.
Is it worth dyeing?
We all know that hair dye is one answer for greying hair but is it actually worth it?
Two in five women in the UK decide to cover their grey hair with dye.
Blonde colored hair can disguise the appearance of grey hair growth – aka roots – more easily than darker colours. Meaning that if you do sport a darker do, you may have to dye your hair more often if you don’t want to see any silver streaks.
Should you pull them out?
According to all hairdressers, you absolutely should NOT pull/ tweeze/ pluck out your grey hairs.
‘Plucking, in some cases, can cause inflammation of the root of the hair, leading to damage to the follicle, helping the hair look like it’s coming in thinner.
‘Most of the time, plucking does not truly thin out the hair, but it appears thinner as it grows in because a new hair is formed with a thin edge’.
‘Besides thinner hair, you can actually do some serious, icky-sounding damage if the hair you’re pulling out is particularly short.
‘Attempting to pluck a short hair can cause trauma, scarring, infection of the skin blocking the hair follicle, and increase the risk of ingrown hairs in the future’.
Well ladies, it seems like there’s only two options: dye it or go au naturel.