Gray hair at 20, 30? Autism! Science already knows what causes gray wires and it is very important to normalize the conversation
You can’t avoid gray, but it can still surprise you when you first appear, especially if you’re in your early 20s. For some, it’s random white hair showing up as a guest, while others may see a lot of gray in concentrated areas. Dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo says that the process of going gray is different for everyone.
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“While it’s a normal part of aging for most of us, not everyone automatically turns gray by the time they hit 50,” he says. “Some 80-year-olds still don’t have gray hair, while others have been gray since their teens,” she adds.
If you are curious about what could be causing this, go ahead! For starters, the experts say to look at your mom and dad. If they saw the silver threads early on, chances are you will too.
Quick science lesson! Our strands get their color from two types of melanin pigments: eumelanin determines how dark the hair is, and pheomelanin determines how red or yellow it is.
“Normally, hair follicles go through a three-stage cycle: a growth phase, known as anagen, followed by a catagen phase, and then a resting telogen phase, when the hair falls out before the cycle repeats itself.” , notes dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. . And he adds: “Cells called melanocytes only release melanin within hair follicles during the anagen phase.”
With premature aging, the number of pigment cells in the follicle decreases as the hair continues to grow. This creates a kind of domino effect: the hair first turns gray and eventually turns white as the melanocytes die and pigment production stops.
Why does hair turn white?
Ah, the million dollar question: why does hair turn gray or white? Even the best guide to gray hair can’t give you a black and white answer. “We still don’t understand the exact mechanism of hair aging,” says Ciraldo. However, the most widely accepted theory is that “there could be a buildup of hydrogen peroxide on the hair shaft,” says Zeichner. “This causes oxidative stress, which destroys the pigment from the inside out,” she adds.
The bad news is that our lifestyle and environment can also contribute to this oxidative stress. It turns out that free radicals released by UV rays, pollution, and emotional stress cause the same problems for your hair and skin. “The process of hair growth and pigmentation creates free radicals, but normally our body produces antioxidants to neutralize them,” explains Eldec. The problem is that anything that stresses the body can lead to antioxidant deficiency, so there is no way to compensate for the daily aggressors. “These free radicals have the power to damage melanocytes, leading to hypopigmentation and aging,” says Eldek.