This perhaps is a crucial question that must be answered. Many people actually believe that the more their hair gets grayed, the less susceptible they are to baldness. But how true could this be? To answer this question, we will do look at both phenomena separately. That way, we will objectively determine their relationship, which will inform our judgment.
Why does our hair turn gray?
When the pigments that give hair its black, brown, blond, or red color are missing, the hair appears white, silver, or gray to the naked sight.
Depending on your DNA, in each hair follicle, melanocytes, which produce eumelanin and pheomelanin, are present and active. Eumelanin (for black or brown hair) and pheomelanin (for red and blond hair types) are the two most common hair pigments. The pigments in the scalp often degrade more slowly than the melanin that gives skin color, allowing the hair to retain its color as it grows out over an average of maybe 3.5 years.
Gray hair starts to form when the number of melanocytes in the body drops, but its expression is peculiar to different individuals when that happens. There are, however, some general trends. Many people say that Caucasians usually start graying in their 30s, Asians begin in their 30s, and some Africans in their 40s. Whatever be the case, the fact remains that everybody will eventually lose the natural color their hair came with.
Influence of Gene
Scientists have discovered a number of genes that are linked to hair graying. Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) was identified as the gene that regulates the production and storage of melanin. As a result of this study, researchers believe that they have discovered the first genetic link between hair graying and human aging.
According to some researchers, some hair graying can be reversed. Premature graying can be prevented with vitamin B12 supplementation. Unfortunately for us, as we get older, our bodies may have a more challenging time absorbing vitamin B12, eventually resulting in the gray hair experience. Age, therefore, plays a significant role here.
According to a 2013 study, smoking has long been linked to premature graying. Tobacco users were significantly more likely to develop DHT than nonsmokers. It’s still unclear how smoking affects the color of our hair. Still, researchers speculate that smoking may be vital in increasing “oxidative stress,” which causes damage to the melanin-producing cells.
Other causes include stress, disease, diet, etc.
First, let’s clarify that it has been scientifically proven that everyone loses a portion of their hair daily, about 50-100 strands per day. Hence when there is an imbalance between the hairs lost and the hairs produced, hair baldness in men, or thinning and receding of hairline in women, then becomes inevitable. But let us examine some of the proven causes of hair loss and see if they are connected to gray hair.
Factors that can influence hair loss
Various factors can exacerbate hair loss. It’s possible to inherit a receding hairline from either of your parents, age, medical conditions like cancer and diabetes, stress, lack of food or inadequate diet, etc.
Let us do a quick study into some of them.
Age and Heredity
These two always go hand in hand. As we get older, our hair follicles begin to weaken.
Sometimes, people who inherit hair loss from their parents don’t experience it until they start aging. While others may have the experience at a younger age.
Medical conditions and changes in hormone levels are other important factors to consider. Several conditions, including pregnancy, birth, and even thyroid disease, can cause permanent or temporary hair loss. Scalp infections like ringworm and hair-pulling problems are examples of medical conditions that can lead to hair loss.
A wide range of pharmaceuticals also contributes to hair loss conditions. Medications for such sicknesses as cancer, heart problems, arthritis, depression, etc., can all cause hair loss as a side effect.
Certain treatment procedures require patients to be exposed to high radiation rays. This includes treatments like chemo for cancer or even the normal X-ray. Research has shown that our hair follicles are significantly affected when exposed to these radiations. Their growth may become inhibited or even kill their cells completely. The result is that such patients will begin to experience a drastic loss of their hair.
Months after a significant traumatic experience, many people notice a slow loss of hair. But in this instance, the hair loss is only temporary.
There are a variety of hairstyles. Tight hairstyles like pigtails and cornrows can lead to traction alopecia, a hair loss condition caused by excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pulls your hair tight.
We think you should avoid such hairstyles as much as you can.
This is also an essential factor to know. Sickness like cancer and other diseases like ringworm and dandruff infestation, Eczema, etc., are all important factors that lead to hair loss. For cancer, especially, the condition may become permanent, whereas, can be treated in others.
Our hair also requires nutrients for its growth; protein is the most needed. It, therefore, means that we are at risk of losing our hair when we have a significant deficiency in protein compared to other food nutrients. Consequently, it also means that a good diet, especially ones rich in protein, will positively impact the growth and general wellbeing of our hair.
The preceding evidence should show that the gray hair-no hair loss story is a myth and should be regarded as such. In fact, we may even assume that a correlation between gray hair and hair loss is that the more our hair grays, which is produced by a weakening in pigment, which is most commonly influenced by age, the faster our hair falls out, which is also influenced by age. But in the end, everyone will develop gray hair, and everyone will experience hair loss. However, the extent of such hair loss will vary from person to person.