Q: Is it true that coloring your hair will make it turn gray faster? How can coloring accelerate the process and cause more gray hairs?
A: Actually, no. The cause of gray seems to be a combination of genetic factors and stress in the body. What generally occurs to cause the idea that coloring the hair accelerates the graying process is that the individual
will begin coloring her hair when she has a few obvious strands of gray, and will maintain the new color for a varying period of time.
While the gray is covered, the factors of aging and stress will have continued to run their course, making more and more hairs gray, until suddenly, the individual notices the new
growth is a lot grayer than it was before, and simply assumes that there is a connection between the act of coloring the hair and the additional gray hairs visible.
Gray hair is a result of the deterioration of the hair follicles, and more specifically, the pigment producing portions of the hair follicles. As we age, these melanocytes can cease to
produce the pheomelanin and eumelanin that combine to provide the specific haircolor that we have. The process is usually gradual, and is also responsible for the fact that many people experience a lightening of the hair natural hair color as they get older.
When the melanocytes cease producing melanin altogether in the follicles, the hair that grows is translucent and has no color of its own. The cuticle gets tighter and as a result the
surface becomes more reflective of light. This makes them stand out more against dark hair, and is why when the grays become abundant, the result is that the hair appears very white, while partial gray percentages can
appear steely gray.