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Scientists say they may have discovered a cure for grey hair

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

Scientists say they may have discovered a cure for grey hair

A team of scientists has discovered the root cause of what causes a person's hair to turn grey and armed with that knowledge, we could be on our way to figuring out a potential cure.

Of course there's always hair dye, but that's rather like treating a symptom rather than tackling the root cause.

However, thanks to this new research we could be one step closer to finding a cure for greying hair and it's all thanks to a team of scientists from New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

They found particular stem cells melanocyte stem cells, or McSCs, in the skin of mice and humans which dictate hair colour.

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Jumping right into the science-y bit, these stem cells get the message to make the protein pigments responsible for giving your hair its colour.

The key to figuring out why a person goes grey lies within the ageing process, as the researchers discovered that as hair ages, the cells essentially get 'stuck' in one state of being.

Going grey is entirely natural, but through the power of science all things can be conquered. Credit: Mint Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo
Going grey is entirely natural, but through the power of science all things can be conquered. Credit: Mint Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

This means the cells don't mature into pigment producers and stop providing hair with colour, resulting in a person steadily going grey over time as those little stem cells just don't do it like they used to.

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Study lead investigator Qi Sun, PhD, explained that the new study had helped us understand how hair gets its colour and in turn could open up a new avenue of working out how to stop or even reverse the greying process.

She said: "Our study adds to our basic understanding of how melanocyte stem cells work to colour hair.

"The newfound mechanisms raise the possibility that the same fixed positioning of melanocyte stem cells may exist in humans.

"If so, 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."

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Scientists have explained why we go grey. Credit: Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Scientists have explained why we go grey. Credit: Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

While all of this is encouraging news for those who want to deal with their grey hair or avoid it altogether we should point out going grey isn't the end of the world.

Plenty who embrace going grey look all the better for it in a similar vein to a balding man shaving suddenly looking better.

Of course the ageing process isn't the only way your hair can turn grey or white, as stress can supercharge the process by messing with your stem cells.

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To make matters worse the stress-related damage seems to be permanent, so if you're having a tough time and your hair is going grey you're only hope is either that your local supermarket has plenty of hair dye in your colour or that further studies manage to crack that scientific egg of reversing the greying process.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Health, Science, News, US News

Joe Harker
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