Gray hair. Everyone will have to deal with this sooner or later, but for some people it starts at a relatively young age. Hair turns gray due to a complex biological process. Not everyone is happy when the result of this process starts to become visible and the first gray hairs are visible. Many people would like to prevent or combat gray hair. Fortunately, more has become known about this process in recent years. And also how gray hair can be prevented.
How come the hair turns gray? To explain, we will first tell you how the hair gets its color. Hair is formed in the hair follicle that is provided with a color by means of pigment. This pigment is also called melanin and is found in the hair and skin. The more pigment is formed, the darker the hair becomes.
As you get older, there is less pigment production, less pigment ends up in your hair during the production of the hair and it forms an increasingly smaller part of the hair. The melanin in the hair is also getting paler. This is because hydrogen peroxide, a body substance, affects the color.
A successful treatment against gray hair is therefore always aimed at stimulating the production of melanin and a decrease of hydrogen peroxide in the body.
The processes behind hair turning gray
The reduced production of melanin and the bleaching of melanin has to do with an imbalance of a number of substances in your body. In recent years, several studies have shown the contributing factors and processes for gray hair.
The following main causes at the biological level are:
Reduced production of Melanin
Melanin determines the color of your hair. The older you get, the less melanin is produced by the body. This causes the hair to gradually turn gray.
Reduction of the enzyme Catalase
This leads to higher levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known substance with which you can bleach hair, but it is also a substance that bleaches the hair from the inside and here too, the older you get, the more hydrogen peroxide is present in the body.
Increased levels of homocysteine
Homocysteine increases the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the body. A high level of homocysteine is often an indicator that there is a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the body. In addition to the relationship with graying hair, a high level of homocysteine can mean an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Decreased Levels of Glutathione Peroxidase
Glutathione Peroxidase, a body’s own enzyme that has a protective effect on the body as an antioxidant, as it were, cleans up the hydrogen peroxide. When levels drop below normal, with age, can usher in the onset of graying hair.