Gray hair is inherited early

Gray hair

Gray hair - cause

The pigment melanin is responsible for the color of our hair. The coloring material ensures that the hair shines black, brown, blond or red. In order to produce melanin, the body needs the amino acid tyrosine in sufficient quantities. However, with increasing age or as a result of certain diseases, less and less of it is produced in the skin and hair roots.

The reason for this is a declining ability of the body's cells to neutralize the hydrogen peroxide naturally occurring in cell metabolism. It disrupts the synthesis of tyrosine in the hair follicle - and thus also that of melanin. Instead of the dye, air bubbles are stored in the hair shaft. The affected hair appears gray or even white to the human eye.

Initially, only individual hairs turn gray, but over time, more and more hairs are affected. If the remaining pigmented hair gradually falls out, the hair will appear grayer over time. The process usually begins at the temples, as the hair there has a shorter life cycle and accordingly falls out faster. For this reason, beard hair is also affected early on.

Maintain gray hair

Numerous hair care products especially for gray hair are now commercially available. They contain conditioning substances that are supposed to restore moisture and elasticity to the hair, as the hair becomes drier and more brittle over the years. Give your gray hair this extra dose of care so that it stays shiny and supple. Then there might even be no more reason to hide gray hair.

What to do about gray hair

But not everyone wants to put up with your gray hair. You can only prevent the natural aging process to a limited extent - for example, with a balanced diet rich in minerals and avoiding alcohol and nicotine. Even people who are good at dealing with stress seem on average to get gray hair later.

Tearing out or cutting off the first stray gray hairs is a method many people use first. But usually after a short time other means are needed to get rid of gray hair or to conceal it. Basically, you have the choice between renaturing and dyeing.

Renature gray hair - back to the old color

Through the so-called renaturation, gray hair can actually get color again. In contrast to dyeing, no foreign dyes are used to cover the hair color. Instead, the substances are stored in the hair where the natural pigments are missing.

For dark hair types: eumelanin

A substance often used for this is artificially produced eumelanin. It is the dark part of melanin that occurs naturally in the body. The agent has to be used several times until it has accumulated in sufficient concentration and color in the pigment-free areas of the hair. It doesn't repigment all of the original hair colors because it only contains eumelanin. Blonde and reddish hair tones cannot be restored because there is no artificial red pigment yet. So if you had a red-brown hair tone, you only get the brown back. This also applies to blonde hair.

Replacement pigments: agents with lead acetate

Other products contain lead acetate, which reacts with the sulfur particles in the hair substance and the oxygen in the air to form black lead sulfide pigments. Over the course of several weeks of use, these are deposited more and more densely in those places in gray hair where the air pockets are. So they act as a kind of replacement pigment. Overall, users of the lead acetate-containing products should get back their original hair color in this way.

However, experts warn of the health risks of lead acetate. Toxicologists from the University of Kiel found that the toxic heavy metal lead in lead acetate enters the body through the scalp. It can build up in the bones and also cause severe damage to the nervous system and the blood-forming bone marrow.

Tint gray hair

A tint is not always suitable for gray hair. Whether the result is satisfactory depends heavily on the gray content of the hair. From a proportion of 50 percent gray hair, a tint no longer completely covers the pigmentless hair. In these cases, you better go for hair color.

Dye gray hair

As an alternative to the so-called "renaturation" methods, you can of course also dye gray hair. You can find out more about this in the article Dyeing gray hair.

When gray hair can come earlier

Disease-related disorders in pigment production can be the reason for gray hair. But stress, mineral deficiencies, excessive alcohol or nicotine consumption can also lead to graying of the hair. Stories, however, according to which people were completely grayed almost overnight, belong more to the realm of mythology.

On the other hand, people with the disease alopecia areata can appear gray for a short period of time. This disease causes all pigmented hair to fall out within a short time and only the younger, gray ones remain. The cause of the disease has not yet been clarified.

Usually you discover the first gray hair in your mid-30s. But even gray hair at 30 is no reason to worry. It looks different if you discover gray hair at the age of 20 or even earlier. Then you should try to have a medical clarification which causes are responsible.

Author & source information