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What Causes Hair To Turn Gray

For many of us, the prospect of our hair turning gray as we age is a daunting thought. While some people believe that gray hair is a by-product of lifestyle habits, such as smoking, most experts tend to agree that genetics plays the most vital role in determining when the graying process will begin.

How does it happen?
Simply put, as a strand of hair starts to grow, specific cells called melanocytes transport pigment to the hair, which in turn creates its natural shade. As we age, these melanocytes begin to die away, which causes the pigment to dwindle and turn hair gray (and eventually white once all pigment has been depleted). This is a completely normal part of the aging process, and unfortunately it's one that can't be avoided.

What causes gray hair?
As previously stated, genetics is the leading factor in the graying cycle. In most cases, you will start to see your own gray strands of hair around the same time your parents did (and grandparents too). For most people, this will begin after age thirty, with the most noticeable graying starting at the top of the scalp and around the temples. For every decade after the age of thirty, your chance of seeing gray hairs will increase by a whopping twenty percent. Since body hair seldom loses its pigment, it will turn gray at a much slower pace.

Other tentative causes of gray hair include smoking, chemical exposure, pollution, and certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies, but there are many perfectly healthy people who start noticing gray hair as early as age twenty. Stress can also play a significant role in the graying process. Even though it won't cause hair to start graying instantaneously, unmanaged stress over an extended amount of time will wreck havoc on numerous areas of an individual's well being, and this includes the scalp and hair follicles. Although the rate at which your hair turns gray is partially under your control, as with quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, your genetics will ultimately deliver the deciding outcome.

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