Going Gray: Why It Happens to Your Hair

And What You Can Do About It

There are a few facts we must face as we age. Our bodies change, and so does our appearance. One of the most common signs of aging is gray hair. Even though it’s often associated with growing old, there are other causes that can have the same result.

What Causes Gray Hair?

Pigment cells in hair follicles are responsible for giving our locks their color. Those cells begin to die as we grow older. This causes a loss of pigment which creates strands that are more transparent and appear gray or white. Everyone goes gray at a different age. Ethnicity helps determine when you can expect this change. Caucasian people usually start graying in their mid-30s while Asians begin in their late-30s. African Americans usually notice gray hair in their mid-40s.

Gray hair can be a symptom of a medical problem. A B-12 deficiency, as well as problems with thyroid and pituitary glands, can also cause the color change. The good news is that, if you are graying because of a medical problem, you can usually reverse the effects once the problem is treated. Other causes include:

-Cigarette smoking

-Bleaching hair with hydrogen peroxide

-Oxidative stress caused by pollution or poor diet

The Cure for Gray Hair

Unless you have a treatable medical condition causing it, there is no definite cure for gray hair. Researchers at New York University’s Langone Medical Center have been studying the Wnt protein, which is used to coordinate pigmentation. When they inhibited the Wnt pathway in mice, the animals turned gray. There is a theory that incorporating the Wnt protein into hair care products could provide an effective solution.

Other efforts are underway to try and find a cure that works. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to prevent gray hair from growing:


Make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. Pay close attention to your B-12 intake to ensure that you aren’t experiencing the symptoms of a deficiency. This is especially important for those who adopt a vegan lifestyle due to the lack of B-12 in their diet.

Egg Oil Massage

Apply egg oil to your scalp and massage then leave it on overnight. This will help stop premature graying. Egg oil contains zeaxanthin and lutein, which are anti-oxidant xanthophylls that can reverse the signs of aging. Egg oil is preferred over raw egg because it eliminates the risk of salmonella contamination.

You can make egg oil at home by mashing boiled egg yolks in a frying pan then cooking until they darken or begin to smoke, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the yolks are black and you notice oil oozing from them. This can take a while and will start to produce pungent smoke. Allow the yolks to cool then filer with a strainer or non-cotton cloth. Nylon or synthetic material is better because cotton will absorb a lot of the oil. Do not expose to water or other substances. Store in a closed bottle in the refrigerator for up to 3 years.

Stop Smoking

Tobacco use has been connected to premature aging. If you are a smoker, now is a good time to quit. Smoking not only causes graying, but it can also make hair brittle and dull. It also has negative effects on your skin and teeth.

Proper Hair Care

As a general rule, always maintain a healthy hair care regimen. Avoid using harsh chemicals and stick with products you know are safe. Taking care of your hair not only helps it look good, but it can also prevent hair loss and damage.

While some people try to prevent or stop gray hair from appearing, many others embrace the change. It’s a personal choice and one that is neither good nor bad. Learning more about gray hair will help you decide what to do when you spot it growing on your head.

Just by engaging in this simple mindful technique, we become more and more aware of our physical state and strengthen the connection between our minds and bodies. It may sound easy, (hint: it’s NOT) or a waste of time, but by making a conscious decision to create physical awareness, you will see your mental well-being improve.

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by Insider Envy Staff

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