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Why Do Men Get Gray Hair?

by
author image Ted Gulezian
Based in New Hampshire, Ted Gulezian has been writing professionally since 2007. He specializes in writing health- and fitness-related articles and has been published on eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. Gulezian has a bachelor's degree in athletic training from the University of New Hampshire.
Why Do Men Get Gray Hair?
Just about everybody's hair turns to gray as they get older. Photo Credit senior man image by Valentin Mosichev from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The human hair turns gray because of pigment reduction in the individual hairs. Much of the reason why men's hair turns gray is still a mystery to scientists. Some say gray hair in men is linked to stress, but there is no strong scientific evidence to support this claim. Everyone's hair eventually turns gray or changes its pigment over the course of a lifetime and there are some possible reasons why this happens.

Features

All hair is initially white and gets its color from the pigment in hair called melanin. The formation of the melanin in your hair begins before birth. There are only two types of pigments in hair. The pigments are dark and light, which make make up a variety of different hair colors. When a person gets older, the two pigments begin to fade and lose their color, according to a Library of Congress website.

Time Frame

Every organism has a biological clock. At a certain point in time, your biological clock tells the melanocytes in the hair to stop producing the pigment. Everyone's body is different, so the melanocytes in the hair are told to stop producing their pigments at different times. Your chances of getting gray hair increases every year by 10 percent to 20 percent every 10 years after 30 years, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Reasons for Gray Hair

The most common reason for why men's hair turns gray is because of your biological clock and preset genetic factors in the body, says Dr. Desmond Tobin from the University of Bradford in England. Dr. Tobin also says that the melanocyte stem cells fail in the body after a certain period of time, causing production of pigments in your hair to stop.

Other Factors of Gray Hair

Sometimes, gray hair in men can be produced by environmental sources instead of genetic sources. Factors such as the climate, pollutants and chemicals can cause gray hair by altering the melanocytes in the hair that produce the pigment. Some diseases can be responsible for premature graying of your hair. These diseases include thyroid dysfunction, multiple sclerosis and conditions that produce physical abnormalities. Starvation and diets low in vitamins and minerals can also cause the hair to lose its pigment.

Prevention/Solution

Gray hair in aging men is perfectly natural. However, there are ways to change the appearance of your hair. Dying gray hair allows a temporary change. You should only dye your hair by contacting your local cosmetologist and have him dye your hair. Dying your own hair at home can have lesser results, with an increase in the chance of damaging your hair. You should allow about four weeks between dye jobs, advises the Hair Foundation.

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