Scientists at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom recently found that gray hair is the result of a chemical reaction that causes hair to bleach itself.
More specifically, it is a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the hair’s cells, which blocks the creation of melanin (the dark pigment found in hair and skin). This buildup occurs because aging bodies produce less catalase, an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide in hair into water and oxygen. The result? Good-bye black and hello gray.
But here’s promising news. Manufacturers are producing supplements that contain catalase. One called Go Away Gray provides ingredients such as horsetail, foti, PABA and nettle root. The product promises that these ingredients can restore hair’s natural color.
Naturopathic physician Valerie Lane Simonsen, ND, finds the product “interesting” but cautions that lifestyle and overall health determine how hair responds to anti-graying treatments. So don’t toss your bottle of Dark and Lovely just yet.
Many people turn to Chinese medicine, a treatment that links hair’s health with clean blood.
Permanent dyes are the best bet for fully covering gray – especially if you’re sporting 50 percent or more silvered hair, although hair dyes raise health concerns. Another option? Try safer semi-permanent dyes and touch-up kits that temporarily cover gray. Also, mascara-type wands and cover sticks can color gray hair in between salon visits.
Still, more women are forgoing never-ending touch-ups and learning to wear their silver locks with style.
Celebrity stylist Johnny Wright said, “Graying is a natural process. Many women are embracing what (God) gave them and enhancing their gray hair, and they look amazing. The key is, start with healthy hair and a great cut.”