Monday, April 5, 2010

Gray Hair Facts

Richard has this awful, awful habit:

We'll be out shopping or something and he'll announce loudly "Hey I see a gray hair! Want me to get it?". He will then proceed to fiddle with my hair, trying to isolate the offending strand and then yanks it out, feeling very pleased with himself. To my dismay, and great embarrassment, this has happened several times while we're on escalators. I usually try to tell him not to do it but he never gets the idea fast enough and I don't want to create too much of a scene and draw even more attention to myself!

The other day, Richard says "Hey! I see a gray hair! No, two. Three. Four. FIVE!!!" Before he could do anything, I walked away. Last night, I finally decided to try to see just where those five strands were. I found MORE than five (and of course yanked them all out). Things are looking 'normal' again but it got me thinking that 'normal' will soon be white and gray strands standing out against my black hair. Supposedly, the average age that men start turning gray 30 and women, 35. I only have another year to the official average age.

So here's what I found out about gray hair:

- Hair is originally white.

- Melanocytes are cells in our hair follicles that generate pigments called melanin. This gives our hair its colour. The more melanin the darker the hair color.

- As we age, the melanocytes produce less melanin making the hair transparent. It is this transparency against the healthier, darker hair that gives the appearance of 'gray' hair. (Does this mean that light haired people will go gray later since their hair colour requires less melanin? That isn't fair!)

- Its false that if you pluck one gray hair, two more will grow back.

- Gray hair can also be the result of a medical condition. If you are deficient in B12 or suffer from a thyroid imbalance it can also cause your hair to go Gray.

- Smokers are 4 times more likely to have gray hair than nonsmokers and smoking has been conclusively linked to accelerated hair loss.

Supposedly, the way you go gray is hereditary. I think my grandmother had almost all gray hair by the time she was forty. I also remember my mother coloring her hair at home from around forty so I guess it won't be long now. At least gray hair is better than no hair.


Bilbo said...

"Gray hair is better than no hair." Trust me, that's right! According to an old adage, when a man is bald in the back (like me), it means he's sexy. If he's bald in the front, it means he's a thinker. And if the baldness in front and back merge, he just thinks he's sexy.

Mike said...

Maybe it's time for you to go blonde.

Bilbo said...

I almost forgot: gray hair is get it from your children. Trust me.

Kimberly said...

I just turned 40 last year and the rate at which my hair is going gray is alarming. I'm fighting the good fight though with L'Oreal as my ally.

egan said...

I have many gray hair coming in and really don't fret about it too much. It's nature and nothing I can really control. I don't drink and have a pretty healthy lifestyle so c'est la vie.

Interesting facts about hair colour. Thanks for sharing. My wife sometimes finds it necessary to pop a pimple at very inopportune times. Bugs me quite a bit.