The appearance of the first gray hair is a traumatic episode for many people, it represents a physical and perceptible manifestation of the pas
The appearance of the first gray hair is a traumatic episode for many people, it represents a physical and perceptible manifestation of the passing of the years, the first enunciation of a process that is irreversible and that must be accepted.
That day when you discover a gray hair, the first impulse that arises is to pull it out quickly and “nothing has happened here”, but then that inner voice appears, the result of the number of times we have heard the same thing: If you pull it out a gray hair will appear seven more!
Is there any truth in this statement? Is it one of many urban legends?It is true that if you pull out a gray hair you get more? In the following oneHOWTO article we explain it to you.
Why do gray hairs appear?
Before explaining the effects that pulling out a gray hair can have, we must start by explaining how hair is formed, in general, and gray hair, in particular. In this way we can better understand the origin of this belief.
Each hair is born in a hair follicle located under the skin. There it is formed through a process in which they are involved keratinocytes and melanocytestwo types of cells that give it its body and color.
The keratinocytes, which are generating large amounts of keratin, divide, accumulate and rise up from the follicle. When these cells die, they leave keratin, which accumulates in the form of a cylinder and grows until it leaves the follicle to the outside.
But keratin is colorless, so if the hair turns color is due to the effect of melanocytes and the element they produce; melanin, the same pigment that gives color to our skin.
A gray hair is undyed haira hair that, for whatever reason, has not received the necessary melanin to be colored. With age, melanin reserves are depleted, as the hair follicles run out of melanin, the hairs that grow in them will be white, that is, without color. To prevent this from happening, in a HOWTO we detail which foods increase melanin.
What happens if you cut or pull out a gray hair
Experiments with transgenic mice implanted with human hair follicles have shown that gray hair appears for a failure of the melanocyte maintenance systemwhich deteriorates over the years.
Other studies that have been carried out in this regard have been expanding information, drawing a much clearer map of the reason for the appearance of gray hair, pointing out the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the cells as one of the culprits of hair whitening.
The presence of this element would have a oxidative effect on melanocytes, making them unable to color the hair. Another thing that is clear is that each hair follicle only produces one hair, and that the follicles are independent of each other, therefore, we can establish two things:
- Not for the fact of pulling out a gray hair, more will appear, because each hair follicle is independent and its cycles are independent of the rest of the follicles.
- If you pull out a gray hair it will come out again. If a hair follicle is already old and cannot dye the hair, when a new one grows back after being pulled out, a gray hair will come out again.
Why is it said that if you pull out a gray hair, more come out?
Now that we know that it is false that if you pull out a gray hair you will get more it’s time to find out why this urban legend arose and why it has been perpetuated for so long. Normally, our body ages steadily. That is why it is usual that when the first gray hair appears, it is because we have reached an age at which the production of melanocytes in our hair follicles begins to fail. So it is not surprising that, from the moment we observe the first gray hair, we begin to observe more gray hairs in the following months, giving the impression that they are multiplying.
If a hair begins to show a lack of melanin and becomes whiter, it will be due to some factor; age, genetic or lifestyle, which predictably it will also act on the rest of the hair follicles. So sooner or later, more and more gray hair will begin to appear.
The fact that a single gray hair appears, isolated and white, surrounded by very vivid hairs that have not lost their color is because melanin is synthesized individually in each follicle, so each one is independent and, while a follicle has already depleted of melanin reserves the others can still retain.
In the following article we explain what happens if I pull out my gray hair.
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