Going grey or white as you get older isn’t inevitable, but it is very common. Whether you’re sporting a salt-and-pepper hairdo or a white-as-snow beard, your once darker locks can soon seem like a distant memory.
Of course, there’s the option of dyeing your hair and your beard or you can choose to embrace the silver and make the grey-haired look work for you.
Where Does Grey Hair Come From?
Melanocyte are the cells that produce pigment in the skin and hair. They become less efficient at producing melanin to influence this as we age, which is why hair can turn grey or white.
Dr Netter, a specialist in cosmetic dermatology, explains: “Hair and beard whitening is a physiological occurrence of an ageing hair follicle. There is no average age to first have white hair – it depends on genetics.”
Although the average age for men’s hair to turn grey is around 50, some guys will go grey or even white from the age of 20.
How to Care for Grey Hair
There’s a myth about grey hairs – that you shouldn’t pull them out or they’ll grow back and bring their friends with them. There’s no evidence for this though – pulling out a grey or white hair will have no effect on its multiplication or pigmentation.
Dr Netter says: “Hair turning white is irreversible. Pulling out the hair weakens the hair root and could result in permanent hair loss in the long run. There’s no reason to treat your white hairs differently.”
Day-to-day, grey hair needs caring for no differently than hair of any other colour – continue using your usual shampoo, as well as a beard oil on your facial hair.
Grey Head Hair vs Grey Facial Hair
There’s no definite rule for when your first grey hairs will appear on your chin; it could be before or after they show on your head.
Of course, the texture of head hair and facial hair is different; this is because beard hair is exposed to stronger hormonal control – follicles need more testosterone to produce facial hair. This means beard hair can be thicker and coarser, which could lead to white hairs standing out a lot more.
What’s more, the growth cycle of hair ageing and shedding typically lasts for several years, but this cycle tends to last just a few months for a beard. This is why it can seem as though the hair in your beard is going grey or white much faster than the hair on your head.
If you do decide to dye your beard hair to disguise unwelcome grey hairs, bear in mind that the different texture of your facial hair may mean the dye takes to it differently compared to the hair on your head.
Find out more about dyeing your beard: