Not everyone experiences it as a natural change of the body. The arrival of the White hair, in fact, it can be experienced or even as a little shock, especially when it happens sooner than expected. But What distinguishes the normal aging process of hair from premature gray hair?
The word gray is derived from canus (gray in Latin). This term indicates the arrival of white hair which, usually, it starts quite naturally around the age of 35-40. The reason? L’physiological aging of melanocytes, the cells that give hair color and are also responsible for tanning.
As we age, melanocytes stop producing melanin and that is why the hair color is replaced by a pearl gray to pure white. When it comes to early gray hairinstead advancing age has nothing to do with it anymore. This, in fact, can manifest itself already around 20-25 years but sometimes even earlier.
But what are the causes of this premature hair bleaching? Let’s find out together.
The causes of premature gray hair
Someone may be wondering if premature gray hair is caused by premature aging of the body or by serious diseases. Let’s make it clear that this is not the case. obviously there are also causes related to general health. Diseases such as pernicious anemia, vitiligo and some forms of hypothyroidism, in fact, can cause this type of effect on the hair.
As specified by the trichologist Dr. Daniele Campo, however, the causes that determine premature gray hair “They are different, with a good prevalence of genetic factors”. This means that those who start having white hair very early have within their DNA a gene that intervenes on the production of melanin already before the age of twenty. The gene is not necessarily passed on from parents but can also be a legacy of much more distant ancestors.
But not only. Premature gray hair can also occur for other causes such as oxidative stress of melanocytes and even in this case there is a genetic predisposition at the basis of premature hair bleaching.
The cause is oxygen peroxide, the same substance that is usually used to lighten hair. As Dr. Daniele Campo in an interview with Donna Moderna:
The latest trichology studies have shown that high levels of oxygen peroxide have been found in the hair follicles of hair subject to premature graying, which from a biological point of view is a waste substance from the attack of free radicals.
This abnormal presence of oxygen peroxide prevents the work of one of the enzymes responsible for the production of melanin, tyrosinase, leading to loss of hair color.
In addition, even if it is not yet completely clear why, hair is unable to defend itself from oxidative stress caused by smog, smoke, pollution or simply the frenetic pace of daily life and surrender to these external aggressions, whitening.
Premature gray hair and stress
Speaking of lifestyle, it is known how much this can have a 360 ° influence on the well-being of our body, including hair.
According to a study published in the scientific journal “Nature”, led by Professor Ya-Chieh Hsu of the American University of Harvard, there would be a link between the nervous system and stem cells that regenerate the pigments in the lower part of the hair.
When we started the research, I expected stress to have strong repercussions on the body, but its harmful impact went beyond what we imagined. After a few days, all pigment-regenerating stem cells were exhausted. And once they are lost, it is no longer possible to regenerate the pigment. The damage is permanent.
The research showed how an excessive release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter produced by the central and peripheral nervous system in response to severe physical or psychological stress, can accelerate the exhaustion of stem cells responsible for the regeneration of the hair pigment.
Think, for example, of Marie Antoinette who, after being arrested and locked up in solitary confinement during the French Revolution, saw her hair turn white in a single night. And he wasn’t 38 yet.
Early gray hair: remedies and solutions
From what emerged from the study hair that turns white stays white permanently. In fact, there are no cures or treatments capable of restoring them to their natural color. How to do, therefore, for avoid, alleviate or prevent the premature gray hair?
As stated by Dr. Field, studies are currently underway on possible remedies that should affect the hair’s ability to react to oxidative stress but it still is soon to be able to speak or to develop a real effective and decisive cure.
Despite this, premature gray hair can be prevented. How? With power. Because if it is true that the health of our body also passes through what we eat because it shouldn’t be the same for our hair?
A varied, balanced diet low in saturated fat is ideal for keeping healthy, strong hair and prevent hair loss and premature aging. Proteins, vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, copper and sulfur, are critical for overall hair health.
Copper, in particular, found in spinach, shellfish and potatoes, contributes to synthesis of melanin, the substance that colors the hair and prevents gray hair.
The ironinstead, present in red meat, spinach and fruit, it is useful for oxygenating the scalp and promotes the production of pigments that counteract the onset of white hair. But not only.
Also important is theintake of two essential amino acids, cystine and lysine, which make up keratin, the main constituent of hair. With the term “essential“Indicates the in ability of the organism to synthesize them autonomously and for this it is necessary that they are introduced with the diet through foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cereals, green leafy vegetables and all species of cauliflower.
Nutrition and a less stressful lifestyle and more attentive to the general well-being of body and mind, therefore, they are the winning weapons for prevent premature gray hair. Prevention, however, does not mean that it can be completely avoided.
Precocious gray hair: why is it right to accept it?
Some of us know this well. When the first white hair, whatever age you are, it can be a small trauma. In the case of precocious gray hair, then, we forget that it has nothing to do with aging and the first thing that is done is to tear off that thin white filament hoping it will never grow back.
As mentioned, however, hair color comes from the stem cells of the hair bulb and precisely for this reason, despite the various attempts at elimination, the hair will grow back healthy, strong and white. Permanently.
Having ascertained, therefore, that it is not a problem of age and that one cannot return to the original condition, how should one behave in the face of premature gray hair?
As with any change that occurs in our body, the best thing to do to live this new aspect of life peacefully is accept it and learn to value it. Very short, yoke or long cuts. Loose or gathered hair. White hair lends itself to multiple interpretations, giving charm and a unique style to all women. Of any age.
The first to give public value and a whole new prestige to white hair was Jean Paul Gaultier, promoter of the granny look, which brought models from the catwalk onto the catwalk totally gray hair.
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After him, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Edun, Lanvin and Givenchy also followed this new trend by promoting a mood that is gaining ground even among the youngest. A concrete demonstration that beauty has a thousand facets, without limits or pre-established canons. In fact, there are many women who choose to dye their hair gray, white or even to bleach it, acquiring great charm.
Sure, in the case of premature gray hair, nature decides the color of the hair, but knowing how to value yourself in every moment of your life is something that every woman should do (or learn to do). You decide how to make the most of this new aspect of your appearance just as you choose whether to capture the hidden message, but not that much, of precocious gray hair.
That stress makes hair white seems to be true, therefore, in addition to learning to accept changes, the best thing to do is to start living more calmly. To ensure greater well-being, from the feet to the head.