Hair tends to turn gray during your forties or even your thirties. But, for certain individuals, this process can begin as early as their twenties.
Some people have chosen to combat their graying locks, using hair dye to conceal the color change. At the same time, others have opted to embrace their gray strands and grow out their roots.
Either way, the main cause of why our hair turns gray as we age has remained unknown until this past month.
A team of researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine recently revealed that trapped stem cells are to blame for our salt and pepper hair.
It all ties back to melanocytes, or McSCs, which are a type of stem cell that has been well-studied.
In fact, they are actually the primary mechanism for the production of the pigment melanin– which gives our eyes and skin color.
But that melanin is also crucial for determining our hair color. Within our hair follicles, McSCs essentially sit and wait until they get a certain protein signal– telling them it is time to become cells. Afterward, these mature cells expel pigment, which results in our hair color.
However, during the study, the researchers realized that McSCs actually travel between microscopic compartments within hair follicles.
A different protein signal might be given to MsSCs by each compartment– which ultimately allows the stem cell to swing between maturity levels.
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