Sunday, March 01, 2009

Gray Today Gone Tomorrow?

According to medical statistics, 50 percent of us are at least 50 percent gray by the age of 50. Some of us go to great lengths to get rid of the gray strands but that may not be necessary in the future thanks to a new discovery.

A team of European Scientists in England say they may have figured out why hair turns gray, and their finding may open the door to new anti-graying strategies.

Going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair's natural pigment.

The process starts when there is a dip in levels of an enzyme called catalase. That catalase shortfall means that the hydrogen peroxide that naturally occurs in hair can't be broken down. So hydrogen peroxide builds up in the hair, and because other enzymes that would repair hydrogen peroxide's damage are also in short supply, the hair goes gray.

Researchers say if they can stop the chemical chain reaction, our natural hair color might not ever change.

But come on. Let's get real. How many baby boomers do you know who still have your "natural" hair color?


Anne said...

I have plenty of grey hair, but my ex mother-in-law is in her late 80s and hardly has any! Either does her son, my ex-husband or her daughter, both in their 50s. Pretty unusual - they would have been good case studies!

Betty Lynch said...

Oh Wow!! But I kind of got use to my affair with Ms. Clariol. Haha! Boy would this save the growing old graciously a ton of money! Thanks for the information.

Beverly Mahone said...


You raise a good point. A number of these businesses who cater to washing that gray away could go out of business. That's why I don't think they'll ever complete this research :)

Laurie Neumann said...

Good points made. I have been trying to find a natural way to decrease the gray, or at least blend it more. I"ve tried sage and rosemary, and more recently, coffee. I think the coffee worked the best (on brunettes.) I may mix the coffee with henna - I heard that works well. Henna kind of dries out the hair, but the coffee seemed to condition it more.

Anyone have any other natural ways?

Tally Green said...

Hello Laurie,
Yes, there are other natural ways to decrease the gray. Nature Sunshine products has an herb called "ho-shou-wu"
premature greying of hair. It has a whole lot of other things it helps with as well.

Pam Archer said...


The most natural is to shave your head.

Seriously, I would like to know the answer to this as well. This is a great topic on which to do research for my fitness blog. I will see what information I can find, and will check back here, too for mor information.

My husband, who will be 60 in a few weeks, nor his mother have any grey hair. My grandmother died at age 80 with her natural color. I am not so lucky. As a rule, I am not afraid to experiment, but previous experiements with my hair have resulted in disaster. I will remain BFF with Miss Clairol until I have proof that there is a better way. Besides, I make a great scarecrow.

Debra Shiveley Welch said...

In the documentary "1940s House" the woman who volunteered for the project used the juice from berries. It seemed to work well.

Now, I have to raise my hand. I'm 56 and have no gray hair. I do color it because, being a natural blond, my hair darkened and I looked pale. Even still, I didn't have to do even that until age 45.

By husband was completely gray by 36, my father was by 30, but my mother didn't go gray until 60 when she started chemo.

Susan Adcox said...

Have you noticed how many blondes there are these days? I had medium brown hair, but when I started going gray, I had to go darker to cover the gray. So then I went blonde, and that's what half of my friends have done. It doesn't look nearly so bad when it grows out. I really want to let me hair go to its natural gray, but I'm totally at a loss as to how to do it.

Claudia said...

So far, at 57, I have some gray "highlights" at my temples and streaked in my hair evenly, but it is happening so slowly, that I haven't given thought to doing much to change it. I have always said that one earns those gray hairs, but then I wonder how I'll feel if and when I am totally gray? We'll see.

Susan Adcox said...

I need advice about how to go gray naturally! Come to my blog and join the conversation!