The discovery of that first grey hair can be a little terrifying.
While going grey is certainly nothing to be upset about, it’s just a reminder that we all age and – at some point – that will start to show.
But what if we could stop or reverse the process of going grey?
Scientists now think they have found the reason why our hair loses its colour as we get older.
A brand new study has found that stem cells may become ‘stuck’ and are therefore unable to maintain hair colour as we mature.
Some stem cells can move between growth compartments in hair follicles – but as we get older they can no longer move, meaning we develop grey hair.
The scientists say, during normal hair growth, hair stem cells continually move back and forth as they travel between compartments of the developing hair follicle, and inside these compartments is where McSCs are exposed to the signals that impact maturity.
The findings show, as hair ages, sheds, and then grows back, increasing numbers of McSCs get stuck in the stem cell compartment called the hair follicle bulge.
They then don’t mature, and can’t travel back to their original location in the compartment, where they would have been prodded to regenerate into pigment cells (AKA colour).
If this research is as successful on humans as it was on mice when they ran the tests, then it could mean scientists have just found a potential way to reverse the greying of hair – or prevent it altogether.
The next step for researchers will likely be to investigate how to restore the movement of McSCs or a method for moving them back to their compartments so they can produce pigment once again.