Grey hair myths that you’ve heard, are probably worrying you more than the actual discoloured odd strand of hair itself. From stories passed down from our elders to widely circulated ‘facts’ on the popular school of WhatsApp, it’s hard indeed to understand where the science ends and the myths begin. To help you sort facts from fiction, here are the most commonly believed myths about grey hair.
Myth #1 Plucking one grey hair will grow a couple more.
One of the most widespread grey hair myths, almost everyone has heard this one from their grand mom or aunt. As it turns out, there is absolutely no truth to the claim. Plucking a grey hair is fine for cosmetic reasons. However, too much plucking can permanently damage your hair follicles. Damaged hair follicles can result in balding. So, tread cautiously.
Myth #2 Colouring your hair more often turns it grey.
There’s no truth to this one either. Excessive colouring and chemical treatments can lead to hair fall. There’s no concrete link just yet that links hair colour with premature greying. If you’re a parent however, you’ve probably used this one to convince your kids against getting some whacky hair colours!
Myth #3 Trauma can cause your hair to grey overnight.
Legend claims that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned grey overnight as she awaited her death at the guillotine. Though this myth has floated around for a while, it lacks any scientific backing. Being subject to high levels of stress, along with other factors such as genetics, can cause your hair to grey over an extended period. Nothing short of a hair dye can change your hair colour to grey overnight.
Myth #4 Grey hair comes with age.
Don’t worry if you’re in your 20s and someone tells you it’s abnormal to have grey hairs at your age. Age has nothing to do with greying. Some school children develop grey hairs and some people in their 40s still haven’t. Genetics plays a key role in determining your time and pattern of greying. If you want to understand if your pattern of greying is normal, simply look to your parents, aunts, and uncles.
Myth #5 Grey hair and white hair are two different things.
As strange as it may sound, this rumour doesexist. When your hair follicle stops producing its natural colour pigments - eumelanin and pheomelanin – the strand of hair turns white. The grey colour is merely an optical illusion of the white strand mixed with the coloured parts of your hair. On a more practical note, grey has a more neutral stance than white and therefore has more popular references in media.
Myth #6 Grey hair is easier to colour than normal hair
Some local beauty parlours might try to sell you a hair colour treatment by saying that grey hairs absorb colour faster and better than your normal hairs. That’s a lie. Grey hairs are quite resistant to hair dye. A grey hair follicle lacks protein and thus develops a protective cuticle which makes the strand quite tough to colour. Try to buy a reputed brand of colour that is specially formulated for grey coverage.
Myth #7 Much exposure to sunlight causes hair to grey faster
The sun can burn our skin, worsen wrinkles, and leave heat rashes. It has however, absolutely no effect on your hair. Wearing a hat or carrying a parasol when you go outdoors is still good practice. While it won’t stop your hairs from greying, it will protect your grey hairs from sun-damage as they lack melanin and are naturally weaker.
Now you finally know the truth behind some of the most commonly circulated grey hair myths. Though genetics plays a leading role in greying, we cannot discount the role played by diet and lifestyle. Greying is indeed sped up by excessive amounts of stress, high consumption of cigarettes, erratic diet, and lack of hair hygiene. While the process of greying is irreversible,you can take steps to ensure you slow it down. A healthy diet rich in Vitamin B, zinc, and folic acid and getting sufficient rest daily will help you a lot. A few good lifestyle habits, when practised on a regular basis, can work wonders for your body.
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