Why Do Beards Turn Grey First?
By Kings of Today | Updated Oct 09, 2019
You may have woken one morning, stared in the mirror and noticed one or two grey hairs. Whether it's no big deal or a puzzling affront to your narcissism, grey hair is a fact of life. But the question is, why do beards turn grey first?Greying is the result of a depletion of melanin in your hair follicles. As you age, the follicles produce less melanin, which causes either grey, silver, or white hair. Beard hair grows faster than hair on your head. This is why most people notice the depletion of melanin (or greying) in their beards first and then on their heads.
Why Do Beards Turn Grey First?
Gone are the days when grey hair was associated with dads. In fact, most men feared grey hair, but today it's a mark of dignity and wisdom. Men can start going grey as early as 23 years, but most start greying in their 30s.
Sometimes the beard and head grey at the same time, but occasionally the beard will start greying first. After a decade or two, your gorgeous beard will get more grey, until it is completely white.
But why do beards go grey? Here is what we know about it.
How Hair Turns Grey (What We Know)
Your hair may turn grey, but you're not alone. Several studies indicate that three-quarters of people aged between 45 and 65 years have grey hair covering most parts of their scalps.
Hair color is determined by melanin that is produced by hair follicles. As you age, the follicles produce less melanin, which causes either grey, silver, or white hair.
It often starts at around the age of 30, but each person will eventually go grey, only that it happens at different stages of life for different people.
Why Do Beards Turn Grey?
Greying is linked to genetics. In other words, the condition is present in your genes, where the body fails to produce melanin - the element that gives skin and hair color - in your hair follicles, after several years.
Since the trait is hereditary, you can look at your father's or grandfather's beards to make a good guess of the potential time when you may start greying. If you start greying at an early age, it's probable they started greying early in life too.
Genetics not only play a key role in the onset of grey hair, but they also determine its intensity, progress, and color.
Hair Bleaching Itself from the Inside Out
Another factor that may contribute to grey hair is the frequent buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the hair cell. It acts as a bleaching agent, removing all pigment from your beard.
Naturally, cells contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide that is kept at the right level by an enzyme called catalase, responsible for the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.
As you grow older, the body produces less catalase, leading to a buildup of hydrogen peroxide. This, according to New York Times, blocks the normal synthesis of melanin, leaving the beard hair bleached by hydrogen peroxide and turns it grey in color.
While some researchers indicate that genes are responsible for grey hair, others say that there may be a connection between greying and stress, and there is a link to prove it.
Although stress won't cause greying directly, anxiety will lead to numerous hair issues. The condition of hair loss caused by stress is known as Telogen effluvium.
This disorder causes the hair to fall out, and when it grows back, there is always less pigmentation than the original. This can ultimately cause it to turn grey.
Several studies have shown a significant link between smoking and premature aging that is characterized by early greying before the age of 30.
A study in 2013 established that there is a possible relationship between smoking and grey hair. It was discovered that smokers are two and half times more likely to develop premature hair greying (PHG) than non-smokers.
That's not all. Smoking has also been associated with baldness where the chemicals present in smoke can break down the cells in the hair and damage your hair, according to The New York Times.
Can You Prevent Going Grey?
If it's genetic, you can't reverse it, but you can offset it. The important thing to do is to stay healthy, make marginal improvements to your diet and avoid activities such as smoking, which can contribute to premature aging.
Research shows that deficiency in supplements and vitamins such as vitamin B12 or problems with your thyroid or pituitary gland can lead to premature greying.
Of course, it's reversible if you ensure you don't lack these elements. Eating heart foods such as Omega 3's can help keep your hair strong including seeds, fish, and green leafy vegetables.
Also, get some vitamin D from the sun, for at least a couple of minutes each day, to naturally increase your vitamin D levels in your body.
How to Maintain Your Grey Beard
The biology of hair is interesting, but we know less about the reason why our hair follicles fail to transition from color to colorless at once. However, what we definitely don't know is how to prevent greying or how to rejuvenate it.
Natural remedies work like a sham, and although numerous studies have promised impressive results, the rumor of a permanent cure for grey hair is just that - a rumor. However, don't get yourself worked up.
Having a grey beard is not that bad, but you need to be committed to groom and maintain it, unless you are going for that classic homeless look. There are a variety of classic styles you can try shape your stubble to, to keep it looking neat and trimmed.
In fact, there are lots of grey hair role models out there and they look amazing! So, embrace your new grey looks, new-found wisdom and wear your beard with pride.
Finally, it boils down to one thing - grey hair is inevitable, the only difference is, to some it could occur before their 30s, and to others, it may only come in their 50s.
Melanin provides an elastic quality and texture in the hair. So, when your hair greys and they no longer contain sufficient melanin, they tend to be straight and coarse.
You may have to invest in a moisture rich shampoo and conditioner to help maintain and hydrate the hair. Since it's not something new, it's time to embrace that majestic grey beard.