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Premature Graying Hair – Why Hair Goes Gray Prematurely

Hair goes gray as a result of a chemical chain reaction that causes it (the hair) to bleach itself from the inside out. The body produces an enzyme called Catalase. It also has hydrogen peroxide which is a natural product within. The one function of catalase is to target hydrogen peroxide and convert it into oxygen and water. When, as a result of aging, be it due to genetic or environmental factors, Catalase suffers reduction, hydrogen peroxide activity increases. This increase in hydrogen peroxide builds up in the hair resulting in it (the hair) being bleached from the inside. It goes gray.

The question that now needs asking is why is it that some of us have gray hairs at a much earlier chronological period. Medical records have shown that people as young as eight years old have begun to gray at that age.

One needs to understand at the very outset that the graying of hair is a very natural process. As we age, hair passes through color changes from the color that we were born with towards a gray/white color. Points were forwarded earlier that hair goes gray when color- producing cells stop producing pigment. This could be due to melanin the hair pigment not being produced or to hydrogen peroxide overwhelming the body’s enzyme systems.

Depending on what race you are, you might begin to go gray at different times in your life. White persons would on average naturally start going gray in their mid- thirties; an Asian in his/her late 30s and a black person in his or her mid 40s. By the time we all reach 50 years of age, about half of all the people would have significant amounts of gray hair.

Now, what is premature graying? Again they are race differences. A white person would be considered prematurely gray if by the age of 20 his or her hair turns gray. A black person who begins to go gray before his 30th birthday would be so considered.

What is now considered are some of the reasons why people gray prematurely?

1. Genetic reasons have been given, that is that, premature graying is mostly genetically determined.

2. Lack of vitamin B12 can also cause that graying condition.

3. Stress has also been said to cause the premature condition to exist.

4. Other environmental factors have also been stated as causing the graying condition

The question that needs asking again here is what are the options for someone who is prematurely going gray?

Those who begin to go gray early may consider two major choices:

1. Hide the gray under another color or cover

2. Embrace the gray

In the first choice option, one can use a dye. Here, the coloring of the hair last for a few weeks depending on the dye used.

As for the use of a cover, wigs are useable.

If one does not want to apply a dye to the hair but still wants to hide it, one can use a coloring tool such as a spray- on brush hair make- up which washes off with a shampoo.

Looking at option 2, one has seen many professionals and young mothers embracing this option, that is whatever color their hair is at whatever time of their lives, they accept it and live with it. They accept it as just another color of the hair.

 Five tips to help you go gray with style:

1. If you apply a dye to your hair, consider going cold turkey with a short haircut. Work with a colorist to weave in highlights and use colors to minimise the transition line between your natural hair color and your former hair dye.

2. Get a modern hair-cut in a style with sharper edges and a really nice fringe.

3. Take care of your hair. Shampoos with a blue base can help prevent gray hair from developing a yellow cast. Use a conditioning mask once a month to keep hair supple.

4. Use a flat iron to make your hair look sleeker and shinier. Gray hair tends to get bleak and a flat iron on your hair brings back the lustre to it.

5. Enjoy your life. Beauty is not determined by the color of a woman’s hair. The ability to take joy in her life is what makes a woman truly beautiful.

The graying of hair is a natural process. As one ages, hair color changes from its original color that one was born with to one which in most cases is gray/white. Linked to that natural process is an unnatural one where one becomes gray at a somewhat earlier period. This condition is known as Premature Graying.

People who are so afflicted have two options opened to them 1. accept it or 2. cover it up either via the use of coloring or via the use of a wig. People on both sides of the continuum were either totally accepting and living with the condition or using wigs or dyes. Overall, what has hopefully been detailed here are supporting evidence to the debate about the premature graying of hair.

Mac Moor