For some women, going grey is a subtle process that happens over the years; while for others they wake up one morning and discover they have a whole new look.
Whatever category you're in (unless, like Lisa Wilkinson you don’t have a grey in sight!) the prospect of going grey can be daunting.
Embracing your natural colour or booking in at the salon are both strategies to deal with the change, but what if we could actually get to the root cause of grey hair?
There are many factors that can cause grey hair. Stress, genetics and environmental factors can all influence if and when you might go grey, but a new scientific breakthrough could change how we treat grey hairs from the outset.
A study by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found a protein called stem cell factor [SCF] is essential for hair pigmentation and that without the protein, the hair will lose pigment and turn white.
“Although this project was started in an effort to understand how certain kinds of tumours form, we ended up learning why hair turns grey and discovering the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair,” Dr Lu Le, Associate Professor of Dermatology at University of Texas Southwestern said in a press release.
Now this is where it gets a bit technical so stay with us...
Scientists already knew SCF is important for making hair coloured, but what they didn’t know was which cells in the hair follicle produce SCF. Basically, if cells with functioning SCF are present, they interact with the cells responsible for pigmentation, and become coloured hairs.
“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.”
With this new information, it is likely scientists will work on developing a prevention or even a cure for grey hair, which will be more than a box of dye.