Scientists discover how to stop grey hair as we get older


Scientists may be on their way to the holy grey-l…a way to stop hair going white as we get older. They have discovered why some of us end up with salt and pepper locks – and are now working to reverse the process.

The New York University team discovered that stem cells shuttle around follicles as they become hairs.

They make a number of stops, being zapped by different proteins to nurture their growth.

But as we age – and sometimes lose mobility – so too can those stem cells.

They appear to get stuck fast – in an area dubbed the hair follicle bulge. This means they can’t move on to the place where
they should receive the protein hit that triggers pigmentation.

And while the hair continues to grow, it emerges grey. More and more stem cells get trapped the older we get.

It’s not an issue for the likes of silver fox actor George Clooney, 61, or the growing number of women who are embracing their greys – including Dame Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda.

But many others still crave a splash of colour and spend a fortune on dyes. However, scientists at the Grossman School of Medicine are now hopeful they can find a way to free those stuck stem cells so they can collect their pigmentation prompt.

They used scans and lab tests to study the fur of mice, which has very similar origins to our own hair.

Dr Qi Sun, who led the two years of research, said: “It presents a potential pathway for reversing or preventing the greying of human hair by helping jammed cells to move again between developing hair follicle compartments.”

There remain other theories for hair turning grey, from poor nutrition to stress to genetics.


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