This is really something that all of us face on a daily basis – that is gray hair. You may have a few of them yourself or at least encounter others who do. Often times a person with gray hair would try and camouflage it with hair dye. You may see older people with a head that has completely turned silver. Graying hair is part of the process of growing older, there seems to be no escape from it. Have you ever wondered, as to why it happens?
Well here is some facts that will make it clear to what causes grey hair:
Each strand of hair is essentially composed of two portions. One is the shaft which is the colored portion that we can see growing on our head. The other one is the root which is the part that keeps the hair anchored beneath the scalp.
The root of each strand of hair is encircled by a tube of tissue that is under the skin. This is called the hair follicle. Every hair follicle has a particular number of pigment cells. These pigment cells are always producing a chemical named melanin. It is melanin that provides the shaft of hair that is growing out of the scalp, a color, which could be black, brown, blonde, red and other shades.
Melanin is also the same component that makes us fairer or darker. It is also the factor that determines whether your skin will tan in the sun or burn. The shade of your hair, that is whether it is going to light or dark is determined by how much melanin you have. As you grow older, the process of aging kills these cells in a gradual way. As the number of pigment cells comes down, you will find that each strand of hair where this has occurred, will start to lose color and become transparent. It may turn white or silver or gray as the strand keeps growing.
As the aging process gets to people and they start to become older, you will see that the process of melanin cells producing pigment for the hair color starts coming down rapidly. So hair will become progressively grayer/whiter/ more silvery. One day you will find that all your hair has become gray/ white / silver.
The thing is that a person can get gray hair no matter what their age is. Some start pretty early, even as early as their teens. Others may start the process of graying when in their twenties, others in their thirties and many people to a larger and faster extent in their forties. The age at which you will start graying will depend on the genealogy of your family. Which means it will be guided by when your parents or their parents started graying. However with the increase in contamination and problems with pollution the process of graying has sped up.
People who have darker colored hair, will find that the gray strands in their head stand out more than people who have lighter hair. Though the process of graying in people with both types of hair may occur at the same rate. As a general rule it may take as much as 10 years for all your hair to grow gray from the first time you notice the first few strands of gray. It has been seen that a sudden shock or some form of trauma can also turn a person’s hair completely gray or white in a short time period, but this has not been proven scientifically. Anyway you are well advised to keep from shocking the elders in your family too much.