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Beauty & Style
Hair

Everything You Need to Know About Gray Hair

Gray hair is often regarded as a clear-cut sign of getting older. That first gray hair can arise when you least suspect it. Although it’s typically seen in older adults, even people in their 20s and late teens may see silver strands.

There are people of all ages doing their best to cover up gray hair while others wear it proudly. But why does it happen, and what can you do about it if you want to get rid of it to look younger?

Why Your Hair Turns Gray

Your white, silver, or gray hair is a natural part of the aging process.

There are two parts of your hair, a shaft (or strand) and a root. The hair strand is the hair color you see, and the roots are anchored under your scalp. A tube of tissue under the skin encloses the roots of your hair strands. These are called hair follicles, and they’re made up of pigment cells, which constantly produce the chemical called melanin. Melanin is what determines your hair color.

The natural aging process will gradually cause pigment cells in the hair follicles to die, which means your strands will therefore contain less melanin. The result is a transparent hair color, which appears as white, silver, or gray hair. Your hair color eventually completely turns gray because the older you get, the fewer pigment cells you have for melanin production. This can make it harder to cover up gray hair.

Why You Might See Gray Hair Earlier

Your genes help determine how early you will get those first gray hairs. Do you know when your parents and grandparents started to go gray? That would be a good indication of when you will, too. Unfortunately, you can’t control your genes. But what you can control is the progression of your gray hair. You may be speeding up the process of graying through poor nutrition, anemia, smoking, vitamin B deficiencies, and untreated thyroid conditions.

Whether or not stress causes gray hair is debatable. A 2009 Japanese study found that stress could cause gray hair from genotoxic stress, which you get from ultraviolet light and chemicals. This could damage your DNA and deplete the melanocyte stem cells.

How to Care for Gray Hair

To maintain your healthy gray hair, get the right vitamins. Try supplementing with daily multivitamins or a B-complex vitamin. A healthy diet full of B vitamins can feed your hair and nourish the body. Excellent food sources for B vitamins include whole grains, brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses, nuts and seeds, and also some fruits and vegetables.

If you do decide to use color to cover up gray hair, your best off using the various natural hair products on the market, which are free of peroxide and ammonia. Also, some shampoos contain hair-damaging chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, dioxane, diethanolamine, MSG (monosodium gluamate), or propylene glycol. The chemicals can lead to health conditions such as skin and eye irritation, and even possible mutations and cancers.

How to Transition to Gray Hair Effortlessly

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