Your hair color is affected by melanocytes, which are small hair pigment cells located within hair follicles (1). The melanocytes contain the genetic information for both your skin, and hair color. As you age, your body’s production of melanocytes gradually decreases. Eventually the production of melanocytes will stop, and leave your hair gray.
On the genetic side, you have the msrA and msrB genes (enzymes). These genes have the sole purpose of repairing oxidative damage to proteins to restore the biological activity (1). Just like above, as you age, the effectiveness of this gene decreases.
By age 30, your hair typically peaks. What I mean by this, is that your hair’s sebum (natural oil) begins to slow in production. The combination of reduced melanocytes and natural oils leave your hair exposed to UV Rays, Pollution, Brushing, Coloring, Curling, and Dying, which can leave the hair and follicles, damaged and weak. In addition to this, the msrA and msrB enzymes that repair the damage, do not work as efficiently as they once did. This in turns causes gray hair.
Melanocytes & Sebum Reduction + Daily Abuse + msrA & msrB Gene Reduction = Gray Hair
Gray hair can occur at any age, due to genetics. If you notice that you are getting grays abnormally or prematurely, there may be a underlying medical condition.
Prevention and Reversal
Does your hair not look as vibrant as it once did? Well, you may be on track for your first gray hair! I do have a few suggestions that can help you out.
In regards to prevention, simple steps to take are:
Use quality hair products that will not strip your scalp of vital nutrients. Try an at home scalp massage with a lavender essential oil or a nutrient dense oil, such as coconut or olive oil.
Avoid as many pollutants as possible. It is understandable that we are constantly exposed to toxins and pollution, so try detoxing. You can use a bentonite or red clay as well as eating cilantro, cucumber, lemon, etc.
Stress reduction. A great way to help with that is by being exposed to a lavender essential oil. I am not going to go in to the large list of possible stress reducers.
Check your blood and thyroid levels. You may notice a change in hormone levels from a worn out thyroid gland (adrenal fatigue) or weak blood cells. If that is the cause, a long term nutrient deficiency may be the cause. This is fine and can be fixed with a few basic supplements!
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)
- Vitamin B-12 (deficiency is a main factor in gray hair (1))
- Vitamin D3 (Vitamin D counsel recommends you take a minimum of 1000 IUs per 25 pounds of body weight)
- Omega-3 Fish Oil
We personally recommend a high quality Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, and Omega 3.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking these supplements, you can get most of these nutrients in foods such as liver, seafood, sushi, or if you are vegetarian, seaweed or algae.
Unfortunately, if you already have gray hair, it may be very difficult or too late for you body to restart producing melanocytes. So prevention is a key factor. If it is too late, hair coloring or highlighting will hide the gray.
For additional information or questions, feel free to contact me.