Wednesday February 28, 2024

Science behind hair greying and possible solutions

Avoiding smoking, doing exercise or meditation are advised for maintaining hair health

By Web Desk
November 26, 2023
New research has found grey hairs can be reversible if you are able to reduce or eliminate psychological stress.—Canva/File
New research has found grey hairs can be reversible if you are able to reduce or eliminate psychological stress.—Canva/File 

The phenomenon of hair turning grey, an inevitable part of ageing, has intrigued humanity throughout history and as our understanding of cell biology advances, so does our insight into the intricate process of hair greying. 

Melanin, the pigment responsible for hair colour, is produced by melanocytes within follicles, defining the array of hair colours from black to blonde.

Historical beliefs connecting stress to greying find validation in recent research, revealing the impact of stress on melanocytic stem cells. Norepinephrine release during stress and heightened oxidative stress can detrimentally affect these cells, influencing hair colour. While ageing is unavoidable, factors such as vitamin deficiencies and medical conditions can accelerate the greying process.

Potential solutions

Hair dyeing emerges as a prevalent solution, offering temporary concealment of greying. Nutritional factors, including deficiencies in vitamins D, B12, and E, along with minerals like iron and copper, may contribute to oxidative stress and hasten greying. 

Lifestyle choices, such as avoiding smoking and adopting stress-alleviating activities like exercise or meditation, are advised for maintaining hair health.

Numerous products claim to impede greying, yet their efficacy lacks robust scientific backing. Natural approaches advocating antioxidant-rich diets and essential oils remain uncertain in their impact. Scientific progress propels us toward unravelling the biological complexities of greying, potentially leading to interventions that restore natural hues or introduce vibrant alternatives. The journey to comprehend and potentially influence the ageing process of our hair is an ongoing exploration.