For many people, both men and women, that first troublemaking grey hair on their once colourful crown triggers a similar, if not slightly overdramatic thought that it’s all going to go downhill from here on out. I admit to being one of them, having already been victim to a small number (ahem!) of stubborn strands.
Our hair colour is all down to a chemical called melanin, a pigment common to most organisms, which is also responsible for our skin and eye colour. As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles begin to die which means that the melanin content in each strand gradually falls until we’re left with a full head of translucent hair, which appears grey or white due to the reflection of light. While the association between grey hair and old age may seem obvious, the same cannot be said for the appearance of grey hair amongst the younger twenty-somethings today.
So, why am I and so many other unfortunate souls going grey early and not in my 30s or even 40s? The general consensus is that we should blame our parents’ genes. If they or your grandparents were sprouting their first silver wisps when they were a lot younger, then it’s more than likely that you will too at that godforsaken age. YAY! To add to my distress, men have also been shown to go grey before women. Check with your parents to give you a heads up on when to expect your flowing grey locks to arrive. Aside from genetics, there are other factors which can cause you to grey prematurely. One of these is smoking, which halts the production of melanin. This may also be the result for those suffering a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Today, we continue to be drawn to hair dye in an effort to hold onto our youthful looking hair, with the global hair colouring market worth billions and billions of dollars each year. Instead of contributing to that ridiculous sum, I should simply take a page from Lady Gaga’s book and just get the gradual, painful growth of grey all over and done with (minus the blue highlights…perhaps). If you’ve found yourself looking in the mirror and spotting a grey hair, stay calm—you are not alone! Let us know if you’ve already panic-bought hair dye or if you’re out, grey and proud.