In the past the first signs of grey hair for men were around the age of 30 and for women 35; however, today more people are going grey sooner. Scientists have been hard at work studying the grey factor because it seems that more than ever before, people want to look younger.
Statistics show that in 1998 Americans spent over 2 billion dollars on hair dye and that number has steadily increased over the years. Canadians women each spend about 10 thousand dollars a year on looking good, including dying their hair. It is no wonder they are all asking the question, “Why am I going grey so soon”?
The quest to look younger has turned the beauty industry in a multi-billion dollar business. If we want to maintain youth, scientists and doctors say we have to look at our medical situation, our genetics, and our lifestyle.
Researchers have discovered that a number of medical conditions can speed up the aging process. If you want to look younger, you may have difficulty if you suffer from an autoimmune disease, bowel problem or stomach disorder, such as diverticulosis. These conditions, as well as thyroid issues and tuberculosis have been associated with greying hair. Scientists have also learned that certain cancer treatments can lead to grey hair. At the same time, other studies have shown some chemotherapy patients who lose hair following treatment; grow back new hair that is their original color, helping them look younger.
Recent studies have linked the greying of hair to low bone density. In fact, research shows Osteopenia, the precursor to Oseoterosis could be linked to premature greying. In a study conducted by the University of Auckland, New Zealand, women in their 20’s with early signs of grey hair had lower bone mineral density throughout their bodies, compared to women who went grey much later in life.
There is no denying that we can’t maintain youth forever. Advances in the beauty industry have allowed us to look younger, longer, but eventually we all have to face the signs of aging.
As time passes melanin production declines and pigments in our hair slowly die. This is when hair turns white, grey or silver. If melanin production slows down early for your parents, chances are it will slow down early for you and the result will be grey hair. All the genetic elements that make someone look younger than they actually are can be passed down to the next generation.
Like fingernails and toenails, hair is made from keratin, which is a protein produced in the body. We need to eat protein to help produce enough keratin. Many scientists therefore believe that protein deficiencies can lead to loss of hair color.
Philip Kingsley is a one of the world’s top tricologists. A tricologist deals with the scientific study of the hair and scalp. In his book, “The Hair Bible” he talks about how stress depletes vitamin B and could feasibly lead to grey hair. If you feel stressed out and think you are lacking in vitamin B, foods like beef, eggs and fish can help.
To date, there has not been strong scientific evidence to support the theory that stress causes premature greying, yet Kingsley has pointed out that in one study a group of rats were deprived of vitamin B and their hair went grey. Kingsley and many medical doctors are bombarded with complaints from people who are convinced that they are going grey due to high stress. Many of Kingley’s clients aren’t asking why don’t I look younger, they are simply trying to find ways to eliminate stress; convinced it will slow down the aging process.
Researchers in the United Kingdom support the idea that stress can contribute to premature greying. Studies indicate to maintain youth you have to lower your stress level because it can potentially have an impact on your hair color. Some experts in the UK believe that when pressure builds, stem cells that replenish hair color become damaged, leaving white, silver or grey hair behind.
If you think you are going grey too early, you might want to ask yourself if you are getting enough sleep. There has been some suggestion that sleep may also have an impact on how soon your hair changes. A scientist at Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital, Tyler Cymet has studied chronic stress and believes physical stress and mental stress that lasts for two or more years can lead to greying of the hair. Being sleep deprived can put a lot of stress on the body, throwing it out of balance. Mental stress, including depression, also throws the body off. We live in a stress filled society, and stress interferes with normal sleep. Cymet says he believes that a lot of people are going grey 5 years sooner than they did in the 1970’s due to issues such as sleep and depression.
Although western cultures are still debating whether there is a solid link between sleep, depression and grey hair, eastern cultures are believers in the theory and are moving forward with ways to fight back. In China for example, they fight sleep, depression and other aging issues with herbal remedies, meditation and other forms of stress management. In India they are also starting to adopt a lot of stress management techniques to deal with daily stress and sleep issues that can help people maintain youth.
In places like Spain, Greece, Mexico and South Asia sleep is not only considered good medicine, sleep is sacred. In these places it is common for people to sleep in the middle of the day to rejuvenate their bodies and minds. They believe it helps heal your body, ward off depression and maintain youth.
Some people will argue that in the western world the problem of aging can be attributed to our fast-paced lifestyle. Trying to look younger; maintain youth itself, is driving us to the point of stress. Our quest to be everything, to everyone, all the time leads to depression and lack of sleep.
Doctors say it is important to maintain youth on the inside as well, and warn people to do their homework as they try to find ways to look younger. Consult with a doctor about any issues you have with depression, sleep, and any new methods you plan to try in your attempts to look younger.