Why Does Hair Turn Gray When We Get Old and How Long Does It Take For Our Hair To Turn Gray As We Age?

Gray, or white, is merely the base color of our hair.

Pigment cells located at the base of each hair follicle produce the natural dominant color of our youth.

However, as a person grows older and reaches middle age, more and more of these pigment cells die and color is lost from individual hairs.

The result is that a person’s hair gradually begins to show more and more gray.

The whole process may take between 10 and 20 years, rarely does a person’s entire collection of individual hairs, which, depending on hair loss, can number in the hundreds of thousands, go gray overnight.

Interestingly, the color-enhancing cells often speed up pigment production as we age, so hair sometimes darkens temporarily before the pigment cells die.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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