Going gray is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less disheartening. It’s safe to say most people would welcome a way to hold on to their hair color a little longer. Researchers from University College London made strides in the fight against gray hair recently when they discovered a gene that plays a major role in when gray hair begins to show.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding gray hair and why we develop it. We’ve all heard that plucking a gray hair will only cause more to grow, but experts have found little evidence proving this. The ideas that stress and dyeing result in gray hair have also found little evidence to back them up. However, research has shown that our genes do, in fact, impact how early we will begin to grow gray hair.

IRF4, also known as the gray hair gene, controls hair color by regulating the production and storage of melanin, the pigment that decides hair, skin, and eye color. Since gray hair results from the absence of melanin, the research team is looking into how this information can be used to develop gray-blocking products. Some of the other genes they’ve identified also influence hair curliness, beard thickness, and eyebrow thickness.

If you are starting to gray a little too early for your taste, there is hope on the horizon. Another research team from the United Kingdom has devoted its work to developing an effective treatment for gray hair. As opposed to traditional methods that simply color over gray hair, this new method treats the problem by getting down to the roots. When the researchers applied the cream they developed to the study participants' eyebrows, they were intrigued to find that their original hair color had returned.

Published by Medicaldaily.com