Growing older means growing accustomed to changes in your appearance. However, even the most self-assured people can be startled when they see their first gray hair. For some, a few strands of silver here and there are the only hair color changes until well into their 50s. Others see a significant loss of hair pigment in there 20s. Understanding the science of going gray can make the transition easier.

The Average Progression of Changes in Hair Color

While a variety of factors influence changes in your appearance as you age, race plays a major role in when the average person’s hair begins to gray. Caucasians usually see their first silver strands in their mid-30s, while Asians usually don’t begin the transition until their late 30s. African Americans keep their original hair color longest, with gray hair holding off until their mid-40s. By the age of 50, roughly half the members of all races have significantly grayed.

The Power of Genetics in Hair Pigmentation

The relationship between hair color, genetics and hair loss has been established for decades, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that researchers published some amazing new findings. They have isolated the specific genes responsible for the shape, color and distribution of your hair. This proves conclusively that the timing of your gray hairs is strongly predetermined by your genetic heritage.

Locating the specific genes responsible for when and how your hair loses pigment could have important implications, as it may soon be possible to develop therapies that slow the process down. In the meantime, look to your parents’ and grandparents’ experiences to get an idea of what you can expect.

The Impact of Your Health and Lifestyle on Hair Color

Though many people insist that stress causes hair to turn gray, scientists have not yet proved this. However, there are health-related issues that contribute to premature loss of hair pigment. For example, low levels of vitamin B-12, thyroid problems, or pituitary gland disorders have been linked with early grays. Fortunately, when these health conditions are corrected, hair pigment usually returns. Smoking and other substance abuse contribute to early grays in addition to giving skin an aged appearance. Those who wish to look younger longer are wise to avoid these lifestyle choices.

If your changing hair color has caught you by surprise, don’t worry. Whether to embrace the new look or dye it into submission is a decision you can make over and over again, as new hair growth offers you endless opportunities for imaginative colors and styles.

Your hair going gray can be alarming but if you’re experiencing hair loss it can be devastating. At Jernigan’s Hair Replacement Clinic, we understand what you’re going through, and we will find the hair loss solution that’s right for you. Contact us today to schedule your free, private consultation.