Why does hair turn grey?

A woman with short, greying hair leans against a wall.

The pigment-forming cells, so called melanocytes, are located at the hair root. They produce melanin, which gives the hair its colour. As we get older, the melanocyte activity reduces, which means less melanin is produced. Over time, the melanocytes even die off. When the hairs grow back, the melanin, i.e. the colour, is missing and is replaced by air bubbles. This gives the hairs a grey or white appearance.

When hair turns grey, i.e. the process described above begins, depends to a large extent on genetic and ethnic factors. Some people get their first grey hairs in their 20s, while others only notice the effects when they are 50.

Grey hair caused by stress?

A woman sits in front of her laptop and folds her hands in front of her face. She looks stressed.

Extreme stress can cause hair to turn grey as stress triggers the release of more adrenaline. Exposure to this over a long period of time can lead to a reduction of the p53 protein. This protein normally protects genetic material from abnormalities and damage. Chronic stress can therefore cause hair to turn grey as the DNA is modified. In addition, stress reduces the energy supply to melanocytes that give us our hair colour.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be a reason for grey hair - hydrogen peroxide is known for its bleaching effect and is mainly used for bleaching and colouring the hair. Hydrogen peroxide is also permanently produced in our metabolism. As we get older, it becomes more and more difficult for the body to break down the substance into its components hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen peroxide present can attack the amino acids that are necessary to form melanin. This can result in a loss of hair pigment and therefore cause grey hair.

Other causes of grey hair

  • Unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. smoking)
  • Stress
  • Side effect of medications
  • Nutrient or vitamin deficiency
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Thyroid gland disorders
  • Genetic predisposition

Myth - can hair turn grey overnight?

Hair does not suddenly turn grey. It is therefore a myth that hair turns grey overnight. The cells do not all stop working at the same time during the night. However, current studies indicate that grey hair shows more active growth than pigmented hair.1 Only people who suffer from alopecia areata can turn grey in a short period of time. With this form of hair loss, all pigmented hair falls out very quickly and the grey hair remains attached.

Turning grey prematurely can also be a sign that something is wrong. In this case, consult a doctor.

Concealment options

Fortunately, not all hairs turn grey at the same time or overnight. But 47% of women still want to fight their grey hair.2 But how can you conceal those first greys?

  • Optical illusion: Individual grey streaks can be concealed by optical illusions. Blonde highlights make grey hair less obvious.
  • Dyeing/toning the hair: Hair toners and dyes cover grey hairs either temporarily or permanently. They revive the hair's colour.
  • Hair root touch-up sprays: If hair is dyed or toned, the roots will become lighter within a few weeks. Products such as hair root touch-up sprays are available to conceal the light roots until the next hair wash.
  • Shampoos and conditioners with pigments: The pigments contained in the products build up on the hair during washing and give it a more intensive colour (e.g. Plantur 39 Colour Brown).
  • Mineral and vitamin deficiencies can encourage grey hairs, which is why a balanced diet is an important preventative method.
  • Onion juice as a home remedy: The juice can help the body to break down hydrogen peroxide, which delays the formation of grey hairs. The juice also improves the circulation in the scalp.
  • Deacidification of the body helps to boost the metabolism and ensures that vitamins and minerals can be better absorbed and used.

Plantur 39 Colour Brown

Plantur 39 Colour Brown

Plantur 39 offers products that have been specially developed for those first grey hairs or lighter roots. If grey streaks appear or if the roots start to show, the Plantur 39 Colour Brown Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo is a good alternative in order to delay dyeing the hair. It is ideal for concealing grey areas and gives a deeper brown and greater colour brilliance with every hair wash. This will tide you over until your next hairdresser appointment or until the next time you tone your hair.

The pigments build up on the hair's surface with each wash to conceal first grey hairs and lighter roots and also nourish the hair structure. At the same time, activating phyto-caffeine penetrates into the hair follicles and prevents menopausal hair loss.

If the shampoo is used regularly, the colour pigments it contains build up on the outer surface of the hair to fortify its natural shade over time and give the hair a natural brown tone.

The Plantur 39 Colour Brown Conditioner boosts the colour-intensifying effect of the shampoo. Unlike normal conditioners, it is applied from the roots to the tips.

Leave each product in for two to five minutes depending on the desired colour result.

The Plantur 39 Colour Brown products are not like conventional hair dyes, which break up the hair structure with ammonia so that the colour penetrates the hair. The colour pigments are only deposited on the outer surface of the hair. However, product residue should be thoroughly rinsed off tiles and objects after showering.