Scientists are closing in on what causes grey hair, raising hopes that “going grey” and having to dye your hair as you age may become a thing of the past. Always a sure sign of aging, in both men and women, greying hair shows you that you’re no longer in the first flush of youth. No wonder many men and women turn to the hair salon or look for colouring dyes on supermarket shelves to help them disguise the fact that their hair is going grey.
Why hair goes grey is something of a mystery, especially as members of the same family can go grey at different ages and with different progressions. However, a scientific paper published in the journal Cell describes how a protein called Wnt coordinates the action of melanocyte and epithelial stem cells in the hair follicle to regenerate pigmented hair.
It’s interesting to note that a previous science paper in Cell showed that “stress”, in the form of ionising radiation, caused the irreversible differentiation of melanocyte stem cells into melanocytes in hair follicles resulting in a loss of the stem cells and an inability to produce more melanocytes. If that’s true, it really is stress that makes you go grey!