Will Coloring My Hair Give Me Even More Grey Hair?

Grey hair may look great on Milind Soman and George Clooney, but for the rest of us mere mortals grey hair is simply an unenviable sign of aging. Not surprisingly, cosmetic manufacturers rake in big bucks from hair dyes and hair coloring products, but could this be exacerbating the problem? According to many natural health care enthusiasts and some of our parents it is. We decided to find out what experts have to say and if there is any evidence from clinical trials to support this belief that hair dyes cause increased graying, instead of just concealing it.

Why Hair Turns Grey

“Melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin, start to weaken with age and this reduces melanin levels, leading to a loss of hair color”

Whether black, brown, or blonde, hair takes its distinctive color from color pigments that are present in follicles before they sprout out above the scalp surface. Melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin, start to weaken with age and this reduces melanin levels, leading to a loss of hair color. This change is a result of oxidative stress that plagues every body cell as we age and there’s scarcely a thing we can do to prevent or delay it.

Effects of Hair Dye On Hair

“Even while your hair is dyed, age will keep working against you, turning more hair grey; you will only notice the new grey hair once the hair dye wears off, creating an illusion of a link between dyeing and increased graying”

As graying of hair is influenced by aging and genetic factors, there is little that you can do to control the process. Using mehendi or hair dye is the simplest way to conceal the vagaries of aging, but it sometimes appears as if artificial hair colors worsen the problem.

This however, is just a matter of perception, as most of us begin using hair dyes after the process of graying sets in. Once gray hairs start to appear, the process simply accelerates as the numbers of such hairs can only increase, not decrease. This means that even while your hair is dyed, age and stress will keep working against you, turning more hair grey. However, you will only notice the new grey hair once the hair dye wears off and it’s time for your next visit to the parlor. This can create the illusion of increased graying as a result of hair dye usage, but it simply isn’t true.

The Takeaway

Studies into the health risks of hair dyes have not found any connection between the use of hair colors and faster graying either. Before you write off such findings as biased, keep in mind that the research was not funded by the cosmetic industry or any lobbyists. In fact, researchers found that hair dyes can pose several other health risks, from contact dermatitis and erythema, to a possible increased risk of cancer.

So, instead of worrying about hair dyes turning your hair gray, perhaps you should be more worried about what those chemicals in hair dyes can do not just to your hair and scalp, but to your health in general.

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