Why does hair turn gray?

Many people cover the gray hair with a dye. Getting white, silver or gray hair is a part of growing older. The following discussion gives the causes for the growth of gray hair.

Each hair contains root and shaft.


The colored part growing on the head.


It anchors the hair into the scalp.

Every strand of hair is surrounded by tissue tubes below the skin called “

hair follicle

”. Number of pigment cells are present in each hair follicle. These cells produce a chemical known as “


” continuously. This melanin gives hair colors red, blonde, brown to the growing shaft.

Melanin is responsible for making skin color fair and dark. It is also capable in deciding whether a person’s skin can tan or turn dark due to sun. The hair color of people depends on the melanin content.

As people get older, the pigment cells present in the hair follicle die gradually. When less pigment cells are present in the hair follicle then hair strand will not contain less melanin content . Those hair strands which contain less melanin turn transparent such as gray, silver or white. As people grow older, few pigment cells produce melanin. Gradually hair will turn gray completely.

At any age people can get gray hair. Some people get gray hair at young age itself. For instance, some may get gray hair at schooling, some during college days and for some in 30’s -40’s. This early grayness in hair is due to genes.

Gray hair is mostly observed in the dark hair people. People with light hair are likely to go gray. It takes ten years to turn hair completely gray from the day it begins to turn gray. Some think that a big shock turns hair white overnight, but researchers do not believe this.

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