Healthy Living

Gray Hair Facts: Fact vs. Fiction About Your Silver Locks

shutterstock_143060749
Here are the most common myths dispelled and proven about gray hair. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Gray hair — the actual physiological process involves the loss of pigment cells in our hair follicles. The strand of hair will no longer produce melanin, thus giving the hair a silver, white, or gray color. There are many thoughts as to why someone’s hair turns gray, from age to stress and everything in between.

Hair-raising facts: An average scalp has 100,000 to 150,000 hairs. Hair is so strong that each hair can withstand the strain of 100 grams (3.5 ounces). An average head of hair could hold 10 to 15 tons, if only the scalp was strong enough! Human hair grows autonomously, so each hair is on its own individual cycle. If all our hair were on the same cycle, we would molt! Hair has the highest rate of mitosis (cell division). An average strand of hair grows 0.3 millimeters a day and 1 centimeter per month. However, not all of these theories are true, so here's a round-up of fact and fiction for you:

Does Stress Turn Hair Gray?

No. Hair color can’t actually change once it’s produced by the follicles, so it can’t just turn gray if you’re stressed out. Once that single strand grows out of your head, it stays that color. Your hair follicles produce less color as they age, so they might look a little lighter as you get older, but they’ll never change colors.

Will Plucking One Gray Hair Cause More To Grow Out?

No. The human body just doesn’t add to the number of follicles that they have, and pulling out that straggling gray hair will not cause more to grow back. However, in some cases there can be more than one hair in the same follicle. According to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City, “the only time more than one hair grows from one spot is when, for some undetermined reason, there is a merging of two hair follicles," she told The Huffington Post.

Is It In My Genes?

Yes. Take a look at your parents and grandparents. Chances are you’ve inherited their hair among other traits. And ethnicity does play a role in how early you begin to gray. Caucasian people tend to gray faster and earlier than Asians and blacks.

Does Dying Your Hair Turn It Gray?

No. Well, not unless you’re going for the Kelly Osborne look and purposely dye it gray. The color will grow back its natural color whether it’s actually gray, black, brown, red, or blonde.

Can Smoking Cause Someone To Gray Faster?

Yes. Smoking can cause a number of health and beauty problems, so it’s just best to ditch the cigarette. According to a 2013 study, there is a significant relation between onset of gray hair before the age of 30 and cigarette smoking, the researchers found.

Loading...