The description "grey hair" is actually a colloquial term. The impression of grey hair is the optical effect of a mixture of non-pigmented white hair mixed with hair that is pigmented to a greater or lesser extent. To be precise, one should actually refer to it as white hair. Along with hair loss, greying hair is another typical side effect of the natural aging process.
When does grey hair set in?
As with hair growth, our natural hair colour is also controlled by a genetic clock. From a certain age, which varies greatly between individuals, the cells (melanocytes) stop producing the natural pigment (melanin) that is responsible for hair colour. Production of the hair colour gradually decreases. With time, the melanocytes die off and new hair growth lacks colour. It is replaced by air bubbles, which make the hair appear white. More and more white hair is distributed through the existing natural hair colour, giving the impression of grey hair – until the hair is completely white, and no more hair of the original colour exists. Exactly when this process sets in depends on genetic and ethnic factors. In some cases, men can get their first grey hairs at 20, while others live very much longer without getting any grey strands.
Causes of grey hair
There are various causes of prematurely greying hair:
- Stress causes an increased production of adrenaline, and over an extended period of time, this results in changes to the DNA, which in turn can encourage greying of the hair. 1 Stress also causes an insufficient supply of energy to the pigment-producing cells in the hair roots.
- Hydrogen peroxide is permanently produced during metabolism, and it is known for its bleaching effect. As we age, our bodies are less and less able to break the hydrogen peroxide down into its basic components, water and oxygen. It attacks the amino acids that are required for the formation of melanin. The result is the loss of hair pigments, and eventually, grey hair.
- An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a nutrient or vitamin deficiency. This can result in an inadequate supply of energy to the melanocytes, which are responsible for the production of melanin.
- Smoking or the side effects of medicines can also influence the production of melanin.
- Changes to the hormone balance can also encourage the development of grey hair.
What can be done to fight grey hair?
As described above, a nutrient or vitamin deficiency can encourage the development of grey hair; a healthy diet is therefore important to supply the roots of the hair and the melanocytes with adequate energy.
Concealing grey hair
Seven out of ten men find that grey hair makes them look old. Therefore, it is an effect that many prefer to avoid, especially since one man out of three has a problem with further greying of the hair².
- Dyes or colouration can cover grey hair completely for an extended period, but it can appear unnatural. According to a GfK survey, 76.9% of men find this to be true.³
- Shampoos and conditioners that contain pigments can cover grey hair with every wash ‒ without colouring it. You can help preserve your natural hair colour.
Alpecin products to counteract grey hair
For those first grey hairs, men can use Alpecin Tuning products for black and brown hair. They contain pigments that build up on the hair with each wash. The effect increases the longer you leave the product in and becomes more intense with regular use. Furthermore, the products with their proven caffeine complex prevent hereditary hair loss.
Yellowing of grey hair
Those who do not want to conceal their grey hair often have a problem with yellowing. This so-called yellowing can appear more or less prominent, depending on the light. Yellowing is caused by the increased number of white hairs between the hairs that are still slightly pigmented. Sun and smoking can make the yellowing even more pronounced.
There are shampoos and conditioners that can reduce yellowing. Most of the products rely on blue or purple colour pigments that neutralise the yellowing and make grey hair shine.
Alpecin products that counteract yellowing in grey hair
Alpecin PowerGrey Shampoo removes yellowing from grey hair, giving it a fresh, well-groomed grey tone. The hair also gains more depth, so that it appears fuller. Alpecin PowerGrey Shampoo also contains the caffeine complex for the hair roots that prevents hereditary hair loss. This shampoo is recommended only for grey or white hair.