Why Our Hair Turns Grey

Why Our Hair Turns Grey

  • Post category:Social Life
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Though greying of hair is a natural process, stress and smoking don’t help

Despite it being natural, most people dread going grey. It is an eventuality that comes at the ages between 30 and 40.

You may be wondering what causes grey hair right?

What gives hair its natural colour?

Melanin, the brown/black or yellow/red pigment that tints skin and eyes, also determines your hair’s hue.

Like paint-mixing, the amount and combination of melanin dictate your hair colour.

Why does hair turn grey?

While grey hair is one with reduced melanin, white hair has none.

This is caused by a gradual decline in the number of stem cells that mature to become melanin-producing cells. 

Scientists aren’t sure why. 

The cells may wear out, become damaged, or lose the support systems meant to keep them working. 

Genes are also a factor since they help control melanin production.

Can anything prevent hair from greying?

Unfortunately, no.

Scientists experimenting with mice recently showed that three specific genes can help maintain stable numbers of melanin-producing cells. 

By manipulating the genes, the researchers prevented or reduced grey hair in the mice. 

However, no product based on the research is currently available.

Can stress or fear cause hair to suddenly lose colour?

Well, probably not.

Historical accounts claim jailed British statesman Sir Thomas More and French queen Marie Antoinette went white overnight while awaiting execution. 

But dermatologists say the likely explanation is either that their vegetable- or mineral-based hair dye washed away, or that they had alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that can be triggered by stress and causes pigmented hair to rapidly fall out but doesn’t affect white hairs, creating the illusion of a sudden colour change.

Can stress cause gradual, long-term hair greying?


Researchers examining grey hair have found evidence of “free radicals” — damaging chemicals caused by stress, smoking, inflammation or radiation exposure, among other things — and propose that they’re responsible for destroying pigment-producing melanocyte stem cells. 

There’s no conclusive proof though.

Silver is beautiful, wear it proudly. If it does not tickle your fancy, you can always die your hair black