Why does our hair turn grey?

Just like an ink cartridge runs out of ink over the years, I guess, by the same sort of principle, it makes sense that as we age, our hair loses its colour and begins to grey. But exactly how and why does this happen?


Firstly, hair is not a living organism. However, the dead cells are given colour by melenocyte cells that produce melanin pigment (which is also responsible for the colouring of our skin).

In the melenocytes, the enzyme tyrosinase breaks down an amino acid that is fittingly named tyrosine, which eventually produces melanin.

As we grow older, the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme decreases, subsequently producing less melanin, therefore our hair gets a less pigmented look aka, it starts to grey.

To further increase the appearance of greys, the actual melenocytes degenerate as we age, causing the cells to completely disappear.

Hence, the combination of decreasing activity of an enzyme, partnered with the complete degeneration of vital melenocyte cells, causes grey hairs to appear.

Also, if you’re curious about when you’ll begin to grey (or perhaps are questioning why you’ve already begun to grey), it is greatly determined by genetics. You’ll most likely start to get greys at the same time as your parents did, so….enjoy!

Lastly, fun stat of the day…Americans spent a whopping $42.5 billion on hair-dye products and treatments in 2010 (which is way more than they usually spend on diet products. Perhaps that explains why they’re all obese :P). Pretty crazy figures regardless!

Monica xx ♥

This entry was posted by dailysliceofpi.

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