There are many myths surrounding our hair and the ageing process. One of the most enduring concerns greying hair and what happens when we pluck out those offending grey hairs from our still youthful scalp – do two grey hairs grow back? Or is it seven? Most of us have probably heard this piece of conventional wisdom so often we’ve no idea how many grey hairs will grow back either but we know we’re not supposed to pluck out those greys. So is there any truth in this commonly-held belief? And, if not, why has it lasted for so long?
Greying hair is thought to occur via predetermined genetic factors – if your parents went grey early, the adage goes, so will you. Although this tends to hold true for most people, a recent study by scientific researchers at New York University indicates that stress also plays a powerful part in ageing our hair. The study, headed by Dr Mayumi Ito and published in the scientific journal “Nature Medicine”, found that stress does indeed cause stem cells to migrate from hair to skin thus leading to the loss of pigmentation that causes grey hair.
So why not pluck out those offending signs of age and stress as they appear? The answer seems to be that plucking won’t cause excessive regrowth of grey hairs and may eventually lead to damage in the hair follicles causing thinning or bald patches which may help explain this common myth’s longevity.
What can you do then, to deal with greying locks? Unfortunately nobody can hold back time forever, and for most of us the first greys will appear from age 25 onwards. If you get to a point where you are becoming bothered by the presence of grey hair then hair dye is an obvious practical choice. Since the stress connection is now proven you can also help prevent the march of time by ensuring you do not become too stressed by your job or family life – take time out for yourself; go for a walk in the park at lunchtime, share quality time with your family. Do whatever it takes to stay happy and healthy and your hair will reflect this. And meanwhile, try to avoid plucking…