The average North American will start to get grey hair around the age of 34, however some people notice grey strands much sooner and others do not turn grey until they are well into their fifties. Unfortunately for most of us, our colored locks which make us look younger will eventually fade to grey, and this process is an inevitable part of aging. Smoking, an unhealthy diet, certain drugs and illnesses such as B12 deficiency, alopecia and thyroid disease can all contribute to grey hair; however studies have found that your genes play a much bigger role then environmental factors when it comes to determining when and if your hair will go grey. This means that if your mother or grandmother went grey at a young age, then it is likely that you will too.
Not Helping You Look Younger
The exact reason why certain genes determine the onset of greying hair remains unknown, however it may have to do with the ability of certain aging genes to break down hydrogen peroxide. Scientists have recently discovered that grey hair forms when your hair builds-up too much hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2 which is a compound formed from two hydrogen and two water molecules. Your body produces hydrogen peroxide throughout your life, however as you start aging, your body’s ability to release it by breaking it down into water and oxygen diminishes. Consequently, a build-up of hydrogen peroxide occurs in your hair follicles and it interferes with melanin production, which is the pigment responsible for colouring your hair. In addition to a build-up of hydrogen peroxide, the aging process can cause a loss of hair repair enzymes, which also reduces the production of melanin and contributes to greying hair.
Unfortunately, there is currently no product that can remove hydrogen peroxide from the hair and no pill that you can take to help your body break it down, although scientists are currently working on creating such formulas. Luckily you do not have to be a victim of your genes until they are created, as there are things that you can do today to help slow the greying process or completely disguise it if you so choose.
A Healthy Diet to Look Younger
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in protein, iron, iodine, copper and vitamins A and B can help you to look younger by supporting your body’s production of melanin, and consequently preventing the loss of color from your strands. According to Chinese folk medicine premature grey hair is cause by a chi (energy) imbalance and you can help to reverse it by consuming the herb He shou wu which is said to rebalance the body’s energy system. If you want your hair color restored and to look younger right away then henna or hair dye is probably your best bet, however you should be prepared for a lot of time spent on upkeep. Finally, if you are in your twenties or thirties and you have a substantial amount of grey hair even though your parents did not at that age, you should get your blood levels of B12 tested because a deficiency of this vitamin is a common cause of premature grey hair