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Why Does Hair Turn Gray as We Age?

Why Does Hair Turn Gray as We Age?

It starts with a few strands and then before you know it, it's everywhere. Although thought to be a sign of wisdom and maturity, gray hair is a part of the aging process many of us dread. According to sources, your chance of going gray increases 10 - 20 percent every decade after 30 years. In this article, we answer the age-old question, "Why does hair turn gray as we age?"

Gray's Anatomy

From blonde to brunette, the color of our hair is produced from melanin. According to research, melanin is transmitted to cells called keratinocytes for hair to become pigmented. As we age, however, melanin declines in these cells. With decreased amounts of this substance, hair appears gray. When there is no melanin, hair appears white.

Genetics primarily determine when the graying process starts, although disease, nutritional deficiencies, and other environmental factors may also be an influence. This process can begin in adolescent years, but usually starts later on. Men typically begin to notice gray strands around age 30, while women typically notice them around age 35. Many have wondered if stress plays a role in accelerating the graying process, but no clear link has been found.

With continued advancements, researchers are closer in finding a way to prevent the graying process from occurring. Until then, there's always hair dye.

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The technological leader in color and light measurement solutions, Konica Minolta Sensing Americas helps organizations formulate, evaluate, and control color to meet product quality and operational goals more efficiently.

Norm Demers

About the Author: 

Norm Demers, Business Development Manager at Konica Minolta Sensing Americas, supports businesses in communicating, measuring, and controlling the color of their products. Norm started working with color back in 1970 at a textile dye lab in Pawtucket, Rhode Island where he was involved with color matching, formulation, and instrumentation. His career in color took off from there and, over a number of years, he built an impressive resume helping businesses develop and implement effective color quality processes. In March of 1997, he joined the Minolta team as an applications engineer, which led to his current position in charge of expanding the company’s Color & Appearance product line into new areas of process control. Today, Norm is considered one of Konica Minolta Sensing’s most knowledgeable experts in the field of color and color measurement. Norm earned his degree in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis on Automatic Process Control at Roger Williams College.

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