Is grey hair thinner? Is there a relationship between gray hair and thinning hair? Learn what causes grey hair at an early age and how to prevent grey hair and thinning!
Many people may have questions such as “Does graying lead to thinner hair?”
Gray hair begins to increase with age, but if thinning hair begins to become noticeable at the same time, one might wonder about the relationship between gray hair and thinning hair.
Not all grey or white hairs are the same. Some of them are caused by pigmentation, others by follicle degeneration.
When someone sees grey or white hair, it is not as a sign of hair thinning. The hair can thin because of the natural aging process.
However, there are some conditions that cause the hair to shed more easily, such as tricotilomania, Traction Alopecia and Telogen effluvium.
So, this article explains the relationship between gray hair and thinning hair and the mechanism by which gray hair turns gray.
Related: How To Reverse Premature Grey Hair
Is Grey Hair Thinner
Check out all you needed to know about grey hair and it’s relationship to hair thinning below.
The Anatomy of Gray Hair
Graying of hair is caused when pigment cells stop producing melanin pigment for some reason.
Since the color of hair is determined by the melanin pigment contained in the cortex, when melanin pigment is no longer produced, the hair turns gray.
Melanin pigment is produced by melanocytes, and when melanocytes are weakened, melanin pigment is no longer produced and the hair turns gray.
You may have heard that once hair goes gray, it cannot return to black, but if both pigment stem cells and pigment cells are present, there is a possibility that the hair will return to black.
What Causes Gray Hair?
To put it simply, the only reason for gray hair is the lack of melanin which is in turn due to melanocytes (the cells producing this pigement) becoming less active and not making enough melanin.
Yes, there might be several different causes for melanocytes to become less active. Some of these include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Ultraviolet rays
- Lack of sleep
If any of the above apply to you, you may have more gray hair. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Melanocytes lose their function with age, so they are unable to produce enough melanin pigment.
Hair falls out based on the hair cycle, and melanocytes are also lost when hair falls out. In younger generations, melanocytes are regenerated when the next hair grows back, but in an increasing number of cases, they are not regenerated with age.
Another factor that is thought to contribute to graying is that cell metabolism slows down with age, and hair is not nourished as it should be.
Since aging cannot be prevented, measures must be taken to prevent other causes of gray hair growth.
Stress causes blood vessels to constrict and blood flow to slow down. Poor blood flow prevents the melanocytes from receiving nutrients, which causes gray hair to grow.
Therefore, to prevent gray hair growth, it is also important to identify the cause of stress. Since it is impossible to completely eliminate stress, it should be dissipated so that it does not accumulate.
Aerobic exercise such as light jogging or walking for about 20 minutes is recommended to relieve stress. This will help you relax and feel refreshed as your body relaxes and you sweat.
Stress can also reduce the quality of sleep, so try to relieve stress as much as possible.
Gray hair is not as genetically determined as thinning hair, but if gray hair is growing at a young age, it may be due to an inherited disease.
If gray hairs appear in one’s 50s or later, it is unlikely to be the result of heredity.
Melanocytes do not function properly when the diet is disordered. It is not known what nutrients melanocytes need, but since their function is maintained by a variety of nutrients, it is important to avoid an unbalanced diet.
Since it is clear that protein, vitamins, and minerals are necessary for hair production, these nutrients should be actively consumed.
A diet centered on healthy food makes it easier to consume the nutrients necessary for hair production without excess or deficiency.
A lot of people whose diets are centered on Western food with a lot of meat may switch to Japanese food or other Asian cuisines due to this reason.
Note that an unbalanced diet, such as having picky eaters, not eating any vegetables, or extremely avoiding meat and fish, tends to make people more prone to gray hair.
UV rays damage melanocytes and reduce their function. Compared to the skin, UV protection of the scalp is often forgotten and damage may accumulate.
Strong UV rays can cause inflammation, so UV protection should be taken on a regular basis. We recommend the use of UV-cut parasols and hats to protect against UV rays. You may also use a sunscreen spray that can be used on your hair and scalp.
If your scalp becomes red due to exposure to UV rays, apply lotion to reduce inflammation and moisturize.
Lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on melanocytes because the secretion of growth hormone, which is necessary for cell repair, is reduced.
The optimal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but you should try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
In addition, be aware of not only the amount of time you sleep, but also the quality of your sleep. It is best if your stomach and intestines are calm at bedtime, so finish eating about 3 hours before bedtime.
Also, using a smartphone just before going to bed can cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and lower the quality of sleep. So avoid using your smartphone about one hour before bedtime.
How To Prevent Grey Hair
It’s normal for your hair to go grey with age, but you can still prevent it from becoming a full-blown salt ‘n’ pepper. The first thing you should do is stop smoking and/or drinking, since exposure to tobacco smoke and other toxins can speed up grey hair.
You also want to eat lots of antioxidants like vitamin C and E, which can help slow the natural aging process. Focus on eating dark, leafy greens and other colorful fruits and veggies.
You must have a diet rich in certain nutrients that are good for hair. Iron is one of them, so eat more red meat and green leafy vegetables. There is also folate and B-12, another important nutrient. These are found in spinach and lentils, among other things.
Also try to lead a healthy lifestyle, where you should exercise often. And in particular, you must maintain your weight.
Avoid crash diets, and high-protein diets, such as the Atkins diet. They are bad for your health in general, but particularly for your hair and your skin. You should also take a multivitamin and mineral supplement, because some of these aren’t found in food.
And while you may be tempted to dye your hair, try to hold off as long as possible, since hair dye can damage your hair. When the grey occurs, you can use a tint that matches your natural color.
Relationship between gray hair and thinning hair
A man checking his own gray hair in a hand mirror.
Thinning hair is caused by the following four factors
- Lack of nutrition
Although gray hair and thinning hair have common causes, rest assured that gray hair growth does not promote thinning hair. However, if gray hairs appear at a young age, the scalp may be susceptible to thinning.
Therefore, when gray hairs start to appear, it is advisable to review your lifestyle to prevent thinning hair.
Since the causes of graying and thinning hair differ from person to person, please take the appropriate measures for yourself.
Important Facts about Gray and Thinning Hair
Here are two things that people who are concerned about gray and thinning hair should know.
- Removing gray hair does not directly cause thinning hair
- Using hair growth products may improve gray hair
Keep the above two things in mind because they may give you peace of mind.
Pulling out gray hair is not a direct cause of thinning hair
Plucking gray hair is not in itself a direct cause of thinning hair. However, plucking too many gray hairs can damage the hair follicles and cause thinning hair.
Hair grows and changes according to the hair cycle, but plucking gray hair disrupts the hair cycle and damages hair follicles.
When you find gray hair, do not pull it out because the disruption of the hair follicle aging system may cause thinning of hair.
Using hair growth products may improve gray hair.
Using hair growth agents improves blood circulation in the scalp, which may not only improve thinning hair but also improve gray hair.
The situation in which gray hairs may be improved is when the scalp environment is improved by using hair growth products and the necessary nutrients are distributed to the hair follicles.
Be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that using a hair growth product will always improve gray hair.
Summary On Relationship Between Grey Hair and Thinning
Let’s learn the relationship between gray hair and thinning hair and aim for improvement.
Gray hair and thinning hair share many common causes, but gray hair is not a direct cause of thinning hair.
However, if gray hairs increase in younger generations, it is possible that the scalp environment has deteriorated, making it more susceptible to thinning hair.
Plucking one or two gray hairs is not a direct cause of thinning hair and will not accelerate thinning hair.
However, too much plucking can disrupt the hair cycle and damage the hair follicles, which can lead to thinning hair.
Aiming for early improvement at the stage when gray hairs start to increase will help prevent thinning hair.
Those who are experiencing an increase in gray hairs should review their lifestyle and begin taking care of their scalp by taking measures against ultraviolet rays and using hair growth agents.