Why do We go Gray?

Why Do We Go Gray?

I have always wondered why some people start getting gray hairs when they’re twenty, yet others don’t see a gray hair on their head until well into their fifties. Why exactly is this? Is it true that people get gray hair earlier because of stress? Or is it all genetics? While researching this question I came across information about hair I have never known before. In fact, I had no idea about any of the science that explains hair color.

Science Behind Going Gray


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I learned that hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin. When you get older your hair starts to have less and less of this pigment and that is why your hair gets gray. Everyone’s hair will at some point turn gray if they live long enough. Hair will actually eventually turn white if it loses all of its pigment.  When Doctor Tobin talks about hair going gray he explains that it is because of two things; age and genetics. Genetics wise each hair follicle will age at different rates in different people. Some people get gray hair much earlier than others and that means that their melanocytes(cells causing gray hair) were producing slower than other peoples. Scientists also say that there are many other reasons that could cause hair to turn gray that are not due to genetics. For example; climate, pollutants, toxins and chemical exposure. I also read about how European researchers say that the cause of gray hair is because hydrogen peroxide builds up in your hair follicles. You can read more about the researcher’s findings here. Another website I found in my research attributes hair going gray to mainly genetics. Sinclair, the author, brings up how twins tend to both go gray around the same time. Scientists aren’t sure what gene actually controls this yet. Sinclair debunks the myth that stress is a cause of gray hair and says how other disease can produce gray hair. Some examples include; Alopecia Areata, Vitiligo and Werner Syndrome. These diseases are rare and aren’t explanations for the majority of the populations early graying. Sinclair explains that to prevent the graying scientist would have to figure out how to elongate the lives of the melanocytes (the cells causing gray hair mentioned before). As of right now, from the research I have done and the information I gathered I can conclude that there is not only one clear reason that tells us what the cause of gray hair is.



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Can We Prevent It?

Is it possible to prevent your hair from going gray? While researching this I found many natural remedies that people claim to prevent premature hair graying and to just prevent going gray in general. There is really no science that proves these natural remedies to be 100% effective but here are a few examples, Coconut oil and curry leaves, Sesame oil and carrot juice, and onion juice. Most of these remedies include having to drink the juices or apply the oils to your scalp. If it were me going gray, I’d just stick to hair coloring instead of trying these remedies. I also found some more practical and dependable options that include doing things like not smoking, exercising, and eating healthy. These options are what any person that wants to keep themselves healthy and youthful should do anyway. Another option I read about is the use of supplements according to this source the use of B source vitamins can prevent gray hair. I looked into this further and found a doctor that said that a vitamin B-12 deficiency can be a cause of premature gray hair but I found no studies done that prove it. After researching all of this I came to the conclusion that there is no one way that is completely proven to prevent hair from going gray. As for now, we just have to wait and see if science comes up with a prevention more reliable with science to prove it.






Vitamins That Prevent Gray Hair


4 thoughts on “Why do We go Gray?

  1. Molly Mccarthy Tompson

    My father has had grey hair ever since I was born. I’ve never seen him with the golden blonde locks he claims he used to have. However, my mother (who would be mortified if I ever posted her age online!) still has never had to dye her hair. Her dark brown hair is still dark brown, and a grey hair is rarely ever found among it. Her father did not grey until he was in his seventies, while my own father had a full grey head of hair in his forties. I hope and prey that I take after my mother–however, I actually inherited the blonde hair my dad has instead of the near black hair my mom has. So, I’m not sure how likely it will be that I inherited my mom’s genes for greying. According to Hairfinder the average age for greying is when people are in their thirties! Your notion that it is genetic is correct. I never knew that there were ways to prevent greying, so this was very useful! Those methods might be sort of like old-wives’-tales, but I’d say anything is worth a shot to delay the dreadful process of aging!

  2. Audra Wren Laskey

    One thing that I am scared about most is getting older. One thing that comes with getting older is grey hair. In todays society, grey hair is not wanted. As soon as some people see a grey hair pop up, they run straight to the salon. I thought the section of your blog where you explained that preventing grey hair through natural remedies was very interesting. This would not only save the color of your hair, but also save your hair from the harmful damages that hair dye causes. Here is a interesting link explaining the why and the process that hair dye damages your hair http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/hair-dye-process_n_4181186.html

  3. Kacey Elizabeth Gill

    Hi Kate,

    This was an interesting topic to post about and it really got me thinking. I never truly thought about what made hair turn gray, I always just accepted it as a fact of life, so seeing that there is a science behind it is pretty cool. However, I think you could have taken a different approach to the topic. Your blog didn’t really do or challenge anything it kind of just summarized some facts. Your last paragraph about the prevention of gray hair should have been the focus of the whole post and that wasn’t really clear. I think you could have used the information you collected in a more effective way. Similarly, you could have tied in topics from class like the concept of a third variable being the cause for gray hair. But keep up the good work, I really liked this topic.

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