What if going grey was a sign of a chaotic lifestyle, not your genetics. It seems plausible; highly successful and highly stressed men go grey. Many have thick, white hair and have even taken stock in this trend, seeing it as respectable, even earned. Then there are those who go suddenly grey overnight. Marie Antoinette was said to wake the morning of her guillotined execution with pearly locks. Thomas More experienced a similar overnight white fate.
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More recently, President Obama was put under the spotlight when asked if his newly greying hair was a sign of stress. He expressed that going grey was natural, and not something he felt was due to work; it was a coincidence it happened during his presidency. He also revealed that his grandfather went grey at the age of 29, so was surprised that he lasted as long as he did; denying allegations he’s been dying his hair.
While conspiracies abound, it doesn’t answer the question: does stress cause grey hair, is it at least accountable. Male Standard set about to find the answer.
The Evolution of Grey Hair
Humans have always been a hairy species. Compared to the early caveman days, we’re pretty stark in comparison. We’re also significantly whiter in our later years than our ancestors. The big debate on whether that’s down to our new modern, stressful lifestyles has plagued middle-aged men and scientists like. Some say it’s genetic; others say its stress, and many agree these combined factors could be to blame.
Either way, going grey is now something to be expected, but why?
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Most Caucasian men start turning grey around aged 30. Asian and African American men catch on around age 45, but both can turn grey seemingly overnight (though extremely rare). Many start going grey before then, as early as their teens and just as many never seem to go grey at all. Not only is this horribly confusing, but also it means you have no real way of knowing when you will turn. It could be today, it could be tomorrow; it could even be happening, there’s no real way to know for sure.
What is known is that a mixture of many different factors causes going grey. Your hair has a limited life span. As we are living into our 80’s, 90’s, and even 100’s, our hair is not able to outlive us. It has a cycle; most men lose 100 hairs a day, which over time sees the color start to fade. This is why grey hair can appear just as thick and shiny; the structure is intact, but the pigmentation is lacking.
Whether by stress, genetics, or freak occurrence, the hair follicles run out of pigmentation and turn grey. Like an ink cartridge, this can happen when you least expect it, or over a period where some ink still comes out spluttering into existence.
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Sex icon Sir Tom Jones – “I regret dying my hair.”
Three Quick Ways to Prevent Going Grey:
While there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest going grey is caused by stress, hair thinning and hair loss are symptoms of burning the candle at either end. If you are experience unnecessary or excessive shedding, this could be the wakeup call you might need!
- Smoking reduces the blood flow in the scalp, which slows down or stops the hair growth cycle. If you are concerned about going grey, stop smoking and encouraging follicle damage. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy and acidic foods have the same effect.
- Going grey can be caused by a copper or iron deficiency. Consider taking a multivitamin for men, which has the recommended daily allowance of copper and iron to replenish these coloring agents from the roots.
- Vitamin B-12 is an amino acid which forms new hair, by adding more B-12 into your diet (through a multivitamin), or looking for products with this added protein, you can be sure to give your hair the best chance of color survival.
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Hugh Laurie, a.k.a House, recently accepted a role as the L’Oreal men’s spokesperson on a new campaign, where personality is the primary focus in grooming, peppered grey hair and all.
Living with Grey Hair
At the end of the day, the evolution of the grey hair is not going to help if you already have grey hair. What you need is a grey hair protocol that helps you live with grey hair, on your terms. If you are looking to embrace your silver fox, then switching over to shampoos and conditioners that contain ingredients designed to bring life to grey hair is ideal. Most products can be used on grey hair, but you want to make sure it’s getting the nutrients you need.
Understanding that your hair is changing is the best approach. Once you come to terms with the supposed problem, then you can work out what you want to do. There is no shame in grey hair, but equally many men feel more confident returning to their natural hair color. Knowing this is a choice only you can make should inspire and build more confidence. If your old man went grey at an earlier age, yes, it is possible you will too, but nothing is set in stone.
Knowing you’re not the same man you were in your teens can even be a rewarding life experience. Embrace who your hair as a way to showcase the changes you are making.
Photo credit: Telegraph
George Clooney recently spoke out about men’s right to wear grey hair with pride; a cause we can stand behind!