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Why people turn gray is no longer a gray area, for scientists have finally solved the mystery by discovering that hair bleaches itself as people age.
A team in Europe has found that going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair’s natural pigment.
According to Gerald Weissmann, the Editor-in-Chief of the ‘FASEB Journal‘, which published the study, “All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot.
“We bleach our hair pigment from within, and our hair turns gray and then white. This research, however, is an important first step to get at the root of the problem, so to speak.”
In fact, the scientists made this discovery by examining cell cultures of human hair follicles. They found the build up of hydrogen peroxide was caused by a reduction of an enzyme that breaks up hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (catalase).
They also discovered that hair follicles could not repair the damage caused by the hydrogen peroxide because of low levels of enzymes that normally serve this function (MSR A and B).
Sources: The Times Of India