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Grey Hair: Does It Define Aging Adults?
We have all had that dreaded moment; after a shower, blow-drying your hair, preparing for the day ahead. When BOOM, it hits you like a ton of bricks: your first grey hair. Maybe it’s an easier pill to swallow for some, but for many, they are mortified.
Grey hairs have always signified getting older, being too old, what have you, but what is it that they actually mean? Is it our body trying to tell us something? Does it actually mean we are really getting OLD? Aging is inevitable, but take a look at seniors living in retirement communities like Westminster Village – today’s aging population are full of active adults!
Seniors today know that grey hair does signify that aging is happening, but grey hair isn’t as big an issue as it used to be. Many seniors today are embracing their silver locks (and even some younger folks are changing their hair color to mimic the silver) and living a retirement lifestyle that is full of fun and adventure.
Typically, researchers say 50% of the population has about 50% grey hair by 50. So, grey hair is definitely common, so we might as well understand what causes it.
The reason hair turns grey
In our hair, the pigment giving each of us our unique shade is called melanin. It is generally a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye. Over time, our body slows the production of melanin and eventually stops it. The lack of melanin in the hair then causes the hair to appear white. Each person’s melanin production slows at different rates, causing some people to see their first grey faster than others.
What else turns hair grey?
Now, all of this sounds very technical and uncontrollable, but there are other things that can cause hair to turn grey hair, see if any of these contributed to the change in your hair (or are now …). According to Mercola.com, there are three voluntary triggers to see grey faster:
- Smoking– The two seem unrelated, but smoking can cause stress to the body, leading to different changes in the skin and hair. We always suggest had lots of reasons to quit smoking, but here is a new, fresh reason why!
- Oxidative Stress– When your free radicals from pollution, poor diet or stress outweigh your antioxidant defenses, this is called Oxidative Stress. Basically, if you don’t eliminate toxins around you so you can live well, you could also be causing your hair to turn grey.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency– This might be out of your control, but there is at least one report stating melanin returned to hair if the problem was corrected. Might want to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to change the color of your tresses.
I’m sure you have heard it said that sporting grey hair ages a person by at least 10 years. With a sparkle in their eye, we can all find seniors today who show just how completely false that statement is. I’ve met men and women rocking their grey hair! They go out on the town to their favorite events or participate in activities and wear it with pride!
Not everyone embraces grey and that’s okay, too. I know my fair share of men and women that religiously cover up their grey every four weeks in an attempt to not “show their age.” With all the shades from browns, to reds and even purple, blue and pink, hair color is a fun way to express yourself!
Finding a grey hair may not be something that you ever looked forward to, but think of it this way, you earned those greys; now how will you let them define you?
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team