Score another for hair science. Not only are they better understanding the mechanics of baldness, but they’re figuring out where those greys are coming from.
According to a new study published in Nature Medicine, the appearance of grey hair might have something to do with the depletion of stem cells from the base of the hair follicle. Hair and skin cells are both pigmented by melanin, which is created by melanocyte cells, which are supplied by melanocyte stem cells. Interesting, scientists have found that when skin is damaged, melanocyte stem cells, which normally live near the base of hair follicles, actually move to repair the damage, leaving the hair without a source of melanin; normally, stem cells don’t move.
Scientists have also found that a key receptor involved in melanocyte stem cell movement is triggered by stress hormones. In other words, this may explain why stress is linked to an increase in grey hairs.