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Hair color comes from melanin, a pigment located in the hair follicle. There are two types of melanin: eumelanin, for brown and black hair, and phaeomelanin for blonde and red hair. Genetics determine exactly how much of each of these pigments get deposited into a strand of hair as it grows. When we are born, we all have a finite amount of melanin, but once it’s gone, it’s not coming back.
By the time we reach our 30s, typically, our hair will show signs of graying. By the time we reach 50, statistics report that 50 percent of our hair will have turned gray, and the older we get the higher the percentage of gray hair we will have – that’s right, blame it on genetics. If your parents had gray hair at an early age, then most likely you will too.
Besides the difference in color, you might have noticed a difference between gray hair and pigmented hair. Gray hair can be coarse, dry, brittle and unruly. This happens because of a lack of melanin, which causes the cuticle of the hair to become thin. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair. Once it becomes thin, it’s easily damaged. With less and less melanin, we produce less oil, which depletes our hair of its natural moisture, giving us those wiry, coarse and easily broken strands of hair.
So, now you’re probably wondering what you can do to prevent gray hair. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no formula for halting the graying of our hair. Perhaps in the future, scientific and technological advances will help take care of it for us, but in the meantime, for healthier hair:
- eat foods that are high in protein like, eggs and fish
- add vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, B12 and B6 to your diet
- use hair serums or deep conditioners to create a protective layer around thinned cuticles to tame those greys
- massage your scale to promote blood flow
- dye your hair with color that is free of harsh chemicals, like Herbatint Natural Hairdye
Our hair is the ultimate barometer of our health. So, the moral to this story is: the better you take care of your body, the healthier you will be, and the healthier you are, the better your chances will be to slow down the graying of your hair!