Why does hair turn gray?

Gray hairs are as normal a part of growing older as developing wrinkles or noticing a change in vision. Though many people will notice some of their strands turn silvery as time wears on, fewer will understand the scientific process behind it. This article will explain why hair turns gray.

It’s all in the melanin

To understand why hair turns gray, it is important to understand the basic structure of a strand of hair: each strand contains a hair shaft and a root. The hair shaft is the colored part that we see growing from our scalp; the root is underneath the skin, where the action happens. Surrounding the root under the skin is a hair follicle, which contains pigments that determine what color your hair will be. Pigment cells create melanin, which is a chemical that determines the color of your hair, as well as the color of your skin and eyes.

According to Healthline, there are two types of melanin. Eumelanins produce darker colors, while pheomelanins produce lighter colors. The mix of eumelanins and pheomelanins your body contains based on genetics will determine your hair color.

Melanin production slows with age

However, when you get older, cells in your body will start to die, including the pigment cells within the hair follicle. When these cells die, they stop producing melanin. In turn, your hair loses its color and turns gray, silver, or white. It usually takes years between spotting your first gray hair to having a fully gray head of hair.

Some people believe that taking melanin supplements can slow or reverse the spread of gray hairs, but there is not yet any scientific evidence to support this. However, consuming antioxidant-rich foods could possibly boost melanin production. Blueberries, dark leafy greens, and pecans all contain high amounts of antioxidants.

Contact Trillium Ink for a permanent solution

Gray hairs signify every good thing that comes with old age: wisdom, lifelong friends, and a full life. But if you begin to notice your hair falling out, this could be the start of male pattern baldness. The team at Trillium Ink can help you recreate a natural-looking hairline with our state of the art scalp micropigmentation process. Call our office today to learn more.