Why Does Hair Turn Gray with Age … or at Any Age?

Typically, our hair turns gray as we age, and there are factors that determine how soon. Three such factors are genetics, nutritional deficiency, and medical conditions.

This should be no surprise, as it is in keeping with the changes we go through in life in general.

Shades will vary, individuals will decide how comfortable they are with it. If they are not, they will choose to apply some type of hair coloring product.

Overall, the question, “Why does hair turn gray with age?” is ongoing.

Gray-Hair

Is It Gray, Silver or White? Shades of Gray …

… and can it be reversed?

Some people say gray hair, some say silver, and some say white. Well, it could be either … it’s no longer colored or black.

The variations of hue in hair with little or no pigment is caused by how it is reflected by light or the color of other strands it’s surrounded by.

Another determinant is the individual’s natural hair color. All colors will not look exactly the same.

If you are asking, “Why does hair turn gray as we age?” you may also ask if it can be reversed. Maybe …

… If this is due to a nutritional deficiency or medical condition, changes in the diet or improvement in health may allow the hair to revert to its natural color.

One nutritional deficiency that may affect hair color is Vitamin B12. This is essential for providing oxygen via red blood cells throughout the body. Hair suffers in more ways than one when there is a shortage of this essential vitamin.

A medical condition is vitiligo which is known for its white patches of skin and hair. It may occur when an irregularity causes the non production of melanin in the hair follicle.

What Is a Typical Time Frame? Generally Speaking …

There is no set time frame when someone will start to go gray. A reasonable range could be from 20 years old to the late 40s. Some people begin much earlier while others later.

So, why does hair turn gray with age in the first place? The pigmentation-causing melanin is mainly responsible. More accurately, the lack of this substance.

Hydrogen peroxide is found in hair follicles. This causes melanin to fade over time, resulting in the hair getting lighter. Just as in the absence of the cortex (the layer of the hair shaft containing melanin), vellus hair which covers the body is light in color.

Hair on different parts of our bodies do not all turn gray at the same time.

Gray-Hair

To Color or Not to Color … Your Choice.

Aging gracefully with gray hair is not acceptable by everyone. To some, it may be a nightmare, ghastly at worst. For others, it’s, yes … graceful.

What makes the difference? Perception, perhaps. Not everyone wants to be perceived as being old or older. Despite its association with wisdom, this tends to be dismissed as a myth.

One way to look at it is that wisdom is achieved overtime. A wise person usually draws on and learns from experiences in their personal lives and from others. This may take years to accomplish.

Various types of hair coloring products have come to the rescue of both men and women who do not care to or are not ready to embrace gray hair.

From temporary to permanent, the categories are …

  • Rinse or Temporary: This is the least permanent and will even rub off on your clothes and pillow. It does not enter the hair shaft, and tends to fade after as little as one wash.
  • Semi-permanent: This minimally affects the hair shaft internally and will wash away in a few days.
  • Demi-permanent: This falls in the middle of semi and permanent. The chemical used, penetrates the hair shaft but is milder than that used in permanent hair colors. It will last for a few weeks. Touch up of the roots need to be done.
  • Permanent: This is not affected by shampooing. New growth will need to be touched up as needed.

The type of hair, genetics, and other factors such as medical condition may determine the effectiveness of any color treatment. Naturally, the result will be different for everyone.

There are also a vast range of colors to choose from, very light to extremely dark. Sometimes coloring the hair may be a fashion statement, or just a statement … period!

Whatever the reason, you choose how subtle or wild you want to go.

Coloring-Hair

Why Do Some Children Get Gray Hairs … Even Babies?

Some babies are even born with a few strands or patches of gray hair. This is rare but not unusual.

In utero (embryo or fetus in womb), there is no melanin until the later stages of the embryonic development. Therefore, the hairs are initially white or very light in color.

Upon birth, the hair may have strands or patches of gray. Or it can be a variety of shades, even though it may change at different stages of the individual’s life. In adulthood, the cycle continues.

Bear in mind, however, that it could be a sign of an irregularity. The medical professionals should check to ensure there isn’t a problem.

Baby-with-White-Hair

Gray, Silver or White, It’s the Process.

So here’s the thing: We age and our hair color changes along with everything else that takes place with our bodies. If it is reversible by nutrition or supplements, that’s only temporary. Ultimately, the time will come for a more permanent change.

Babies, children, young and older adults are candidates for gray hair. Typically, it may start between 20 and the late 40s due mainly to genetics.

Aging gracefully does not include embracing gray hairs by everyone so using any degree of hair coloring products is very popular, but …

… as it was in the beginning, so it shall be in the end.

That’s it in a nutshell.

I hope this short article has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. I will do my best to address them.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn on qualifying purchases.)

The History of Laser Hair Removal: Did You Know?

Laser hair removal has been around since the latter part of the 1990s. People are constantly searching for convenient hair removal methods and devices. Inventors come up with ideas and implement them through trial and error.

Nowadays, it is possible to do some form of laser hair removal at home. This has now become quite popular, more cost effective, and very convenient.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction. This means that the number of hairs in a treated area are reduced, but all hairs are not permanently removed.

Hair-Removal-Devices
Hair Removal Devices

What is Laser Hair Removal? How Does It Work?

In this article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, you will get answers to some frequently asked questions.

Pulses of light are used to destroy the hair follicle by way of a laser.

Laser hair removal targets dark pigments in the hair follicle. With earlier inventions, melanin in the skin was also being targeted; hence, this method was not performed on people with dark skin. Improvements have been made with newer inventions.

Laser-Friendly Skin
Laser-friendly Black Skin

Now skin color is not an issue; however, the laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs. These cannot be treated unless by more advanced lasers.

Hair that is in the first of the three cycles, anagen, catagen, and telogen, is what will be affected by this treatment method. The hairs will not fall out immediately. It will take approximately five days and up to a few weeks. They should be left to fall out on their own; otherwise, there may be consequences.

Also, the hair forced out would be considered tweezed instead. This would be counterproductive to the whole laser experience.

Best results are achieved by a knowledgeable laser hair removal specialist. A thorough consultation needs to be done to determine ethnicity, medical conditions, causes of excessive hair growth where applicable, nutrition, and many other factors.

Client-Consultation
Client Consultation Before Treatment

Some important tips are …

  • Avoid sun exposure and tanning machines 24 to 48 hours prior to treatment.
  • Avoid caffeine 24 hours prior to treatment.
  • Shave the area to be treated a day before your appointment.
  • Be honest about ethnicity and medical conditions.

There may be some level of discomfort during treatment. Topical creams may be applied; however, this has to be done in a small area at a time. It is dangerous to apply in large areas of the skin.

Goggles are worn while the laser is turned on and during treatment. The laser beam can penetrate the eyes causing permanent damage.

Did you know that there is a difference between permanent hair reduction and permanent hair removal?

Are There Different Types of Lasers?

Some lasers are …

  • Ruby: This was the first one used in 1960 for pale skin only.
  • Alexandrite: This later development can be used on all skin types.
  • Diode: This is used for pale to medium skin.
  • Nd:Yag: Finally, dark skin can be effectively treated with this laser’s invention.

These all used different wavelengths and light sources. The ruby has the shortest wavelength and the Nd:Yag the longest. Light sources are red, near-infrared, and infrared.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which is generally associated with and mistaken for laser, is not a laser. Its wavelength is shorter than the ruby, and it also uses infrared light. It treats pale to medium skin.

Did you know that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser?

How Does Laser Hair Removal Compare to Other Methods?

Let’s look at the most popular methods of hair removal …

  • Electrolysis: Laser is a newer and faster invention than electrolysis. It is best compared to the blend method, which is the most effective of the three (galvanic, thermolysis, and blend). While electrolysis uses electricity to destroy hair follicles, laser uses light pulses.
  • Waxing: The results are more long term than waxing. Waxing does not destroy hair follicles.
  • Tweezing (Plucking): The results are more long term than tweezing, which does not destroy hair follicles.
  • Shaving: Laser is definitely more long term than shaving. However, shaving is recommended above waxing and tweezing. It is the least stimulating to the production of hair. When hair is pulled up by the root, a nourishing supply of blood is rushed to the injured site.

Did you know that sugaring is an effective method of hair removal similar to waxing?

Sugaring-Hair-Removal
Sugaring Hair Removal

Pros and Cons

There are things to take into consideration before making a decision if laser hair removal is right for you …

Pros:

  • Treatment is relatively fast.
  • The number of hairs in a treated area will be reduced after follow-up treatments.
  • It is cost-effective over time.

Cons:

  • There may be side effects such as itching, redness, crust, hypo- or hyper pigmentation.
  • Several treatments will be necessary to be effective.
  • It is expensive.

Some side effects may be minimized by following pre- and post-care advice.

When it comes to making a decision, make sure you ask as many questions as you like. Don’t shy away from that. The more informed you are, the better decision maker you will be.

Did you know that possible side effects may be minimized?

Wrap It Up

So hair’s the thing: Laser hair removal is a relatively new invention. Improvements have been made to include all skin colors as the earlier lasers were restricted to pale skin only.

There are several at-home laser devices on the market. This allows customers a more convenient and cost-effective opportunity to treat their problematic hair concerns.

The FDA has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction.

Laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs, although more advanced lasers claim to do that. The different types of lasers are used for pale, medium, and dark skin color.

Remember, also, that an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser.

We looked at how laser hair removal compares to other hair removal methods: electrolysis, waxing, tweezing, and shaving. Ask questions and research to become wiser at making a choice.

I hope this short article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your question and comments below. I will do my best to address them.

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases.)