9 Facts About Graying Hair That Young S’poreans Who Have Gray Hair Should Know

It’s common to see a 20-something with graying hair nowadays, and unsurprisingly, we’ve often attributed it to either “stress” or “genes”.

How much of that is true? I mean, this guy here goes through quite a bit of stress every day from his mean boss…

…and yet he has fifty shades of blacks atop his head. So, what are white hair, and are they really caused by stress?

Here are nine facts about white hair—based solely on science.

If you prefer to watch, we’ve done a video on this topic here:

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Still here because you’ve run out of data? Well, here goes.

What is white hair?

First thing first: What is white hair? Usually, we call it graying hair, as the entire hair looks gray instead of pure black.

Basically, our hair colour is caused by Melanin. When we have less Melanin, the hair starts to lose colour, and so, it’ll turn gray first, then white.

For people who has just white hair, it’s due to the complete lack of Melanin in their hair.

Now, this special thingy isn’t responsible for our hair colour.

Melanin is also responsible for our skin colour

Melanin is a pigment, and it’s not only responsible for our hair, but for our skin colour, too. Obviously, the colour is affected by our genes: for people who has darker skin, they usually have more melanin in their skin.

If you’ve got freckles, it’s also due to the increased Melanin production in your skin (kind of Catch-22 eh: you want more melanin for better hair colour yet won’t want freckles).

So what causes the melanin in our hair to just AWOL?

Melanin loses steam 10%-20% every ten years after 30 years old

You know, just like any part of our body, we get weaker as we grow older.

Same thing for Melanin: in order for it to work, it must be created by a specialized cell known as melanocyte. As we grow older, it loses it function 10% to 20% every ten years after 30 years old

So graying hair is normal as you turn older. But hey, there’s another discovery

Hydrogen Peroxide, the New Discovery about Hair Loss

While the theory of Melanin losing steam and therefore causing gray hair still stands, there’s a new discovery recently.

It’s said that as we grow older, our hair builds up hydrogen peroxide: something that our body creates on a regular basis as a byproduct for survival.

The hydrogen peroxides are usually neutralized by an enzyme by our body, but as we grow older, the enzyme gets lower and ta-da: it’s not broken down, and our hair is “bleached” by our own body, since hydrogen peroxide is also a bleaching agent.


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Whichever discovery you believe in, here’s the thing: premature white hair, which isn’t caused by aging, can somehow be prevented.

Causes of Premature White Hair

We all have friends who’re like 20 and have white hair, and that’s got to do with two factors: genes and environment (I know got say like no say, but read on).

Genes play a large role, but there are several external factors that contribute to the lack of Melanin or the enzymes that breaks down hydrogen peroxide: for example, stress, smoking and unbalanced diet could affect the enzymes or Melanin production.

You see, if your body is working as usual, the Melanin levels would be normal, but if you, say, smoke a lot, it’ll change the level and your hair would “age” faster.

Actually, it’s not just your hair, but you get the gist: The solution is to always keep yourself healthy.


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Plucking one white hair would lead to three white hair: True or fake?

I’m not sure where the theory of “pluck-one-white-hair-leads-to-three” comes about, but after reading all these previous facts, it should be obvious: it’s fake. There’s no science to it at all.

In fact, if you pluck out one white hair, it might not grow again as the hair follicle would be damaged

Grey Hair Statistics

Here’s something interesting: men have more gray hair than women, and Asians are less likely to have gray hair than ang mos.

Generally, Asians start to have white hair in their late thirties while ang mos in their mid-thirties

So if you’re thinking of becoming a George Clooney in your 30s, forget it.


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Body Hair Would Also Turn Gray

You’re starting to see some gray hair on your head, and wonder if any other parts of your body hair is going to turn white as well.

The short answer is…yes.

If you’ve absorbed what you’re read earlier, you’ll know that the low Melanin level affects not just your hair, but your entire body as well

So if you’re dyeing your hair black to cover your grey hair, you might want to consider dyeing other parts of your body.

Smokers have higher chance of going gray

We’ve spoken about how smoking affects your hair colour, but here’s one shocking fact for you

A 2013 study reveals that smokers are 2.5 times more prone to have white hair earlier than non-smokers. Whether it’s due to a lower Melanin level or the lack of enzymes to break down hydrogen peroxides, it doesn’t matter.

What you know is that if you smoke, chances are you might have white hair before your non-smoker friends.

Not sure if that’s a good enough reason for you to quit smoking #justsaying


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