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Why does hair turn grey?

Hair is an organ which covers almost our whole body. It grows everywhere from head, cheeks, fingers to knees and toes except lips, palm, and sole of the feet. Hair insulates the body and protects our skin (and SCALP) from sunlight. It also facilitates the evaporation of perspiration.

Hair on the head is considered as a beauty accessory and everyone love to behold it. We all crave to have glossy and healthy hair as it complements our physical appearance. Our head hair grows, breaks and shreds over a regular period of time naturally. The factors which affects hair include climate, genes, pollutants, hormones, age and toxins etc.


Why does hair turn grey?

Each hair on our heads is made up of two parts namely - root and shaft. Root keeps the hair anchored under the scalp. Shaft is the colored part growing out on our head. The root of every hair is surrounded by a bulb-like tube called hair follicle. The average head has 1,00,000 hair follicles. Each hair follicle contains a certain number of pigment cells. These pigment cells constantly produces a chemical called melanin.

The hair, skin and eyes of the people and animals get its color from this specialized "melanin" substance. It protects the skin from the sun's dangerous UV rays. Human hair color ranges between brown, blonde, black, red, grey and white.

The levels of melanin in our body makes the skin and hair color to change brown, blonde, black, red, grey and anything in between. Melanin are of two types, eumelanin (dark brown or black) and phaeomelanin (reddish or yellowish brown). Melanin determines our hair and skin color. For example, if more eumelanin is present, the color of the hair is darker. If less eumelanin is present, the hair color is lighter.The level of melanin in our body mostly depends on our genes, which we get from our parents. If levels of melanin is more, skin and hair color will be darker.

The pigment cells which produces melanin will becomes fewer when we grow old. As a result, only low levels of melanin will be in our body as we grow older so our hair color turns grey.

Low levels of melanin or no melanin in our body can make our hair salt and pepper (Grey or white). Grey hair is also caused by thyroid deficiency and Vitamin B12 deficiency.

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Did You Know?

Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Good blood circulation is important for every tissues and organs in our body for its smooth functioning. Proper circulation of blood to the scalp is vital for feeding the oxygen and the nutrients it needs for stimulating the hair growth. It also facilitates protection from the most annoying dandruff and other scalp problems. We can increase the blood flow by doing regular exercises, staying hydrated, eating fruits and vegetables and following a balanced diet. Avoiding stress is also equally important as stress can tighten the muscles and reduce the blood circulation, which in turn may affect the hair.

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