One of the most obvious signs of aging that everyone notices is gray hair. Although it can affect men and women at a relatively young age, it’s still viewed as something strictly reserved for old people. However, many people are still wondering what causes gray hair.
What Exactly Causes Gray Hair?
There are a few factors that contribute to this change. Age certainly plays a huge role. By age 50 about half of the people in the world have more than 50% gray hair on their heads. This is often referred to by dermatologists as the 50-50-50 rule. Most people by the age of 50 have come to terms with the fact that gray hair is all but inevitable, but some have the hair treated to bring back a youthful appearance. Those looking at coloring their hair need to understand that gray hair does not always take to dye. It might take a few tries to get the intended look.
Stress and Gray Hair
Dermatologists have always linked stress with several skin and hair issues. This is the body’s reaction to being put under pressure-filled situations. The hair can start growing gray, or it can fall out altogether in some cases. When hair falls out due to stress, it can begin to grow back a different color. This is one reason as to why some people seemingly go gray out of the blue. Stress accelerates the process.
There are many reasons to avoid smoking, unhealthy foods, and other bad habits daily. One of them is to help to avoid developing gray hair. Smoking has long been considered very stressful on the entire body. Cutting out smoking is beneficial in a lot of ways, but it might be the difference between holding onto your natural color or not. Certain foods also contribute to healthy hair pigment. Foods with a lot of vitamins and nutrients can help feed the hair and make it look healthy all year long. Liver and carrots are just a few examples of these beneficial foods.
Genes and Ethnicity
Some people are prone to turning gray at a young age based on factors they are born with. Turning gray prematurely is hereditary, so if your parents were gray in their 20s, there is a good chance you will be as well. Scientists are still trying to figure out why lighter skinned people tend to turn gray earlier than darker skin people. Caucasians on average see gray hairs growing in at an early age, and redheads are the earliest. On the other end, those with dark skin might not see gray hair until well into their 40s.
Dealing with Gray Hair
While a lot is known about gray hair these days, there are still a lot of unknowns. It’s simply impossible to predict who will turn gray prematurely, and at what age. Dermatologists can make educated guesses, but it’s never an exact science. To increase the chances of avoiding gray hair, live a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. Avoid smoking, heavy drinking or drugs. Gray hair might still show up, but at least you can do some things to slow its progress.