Science Questions

Does dyeing your hair make it turn white faster?

Sat, 24th Apr 2010

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Question

Leah Lim asked:

My grandmother warned my mother that dying your hair makes it turn white faster. My mom doesn't dye her hair and at 63 she only has a few white hairs. Her three sisters are all younger and dye their hair and they are all graying faster than her. Is this true or just an old wives tale?

 

I haven't missed a show in three years. Very excited for your response.

 

Thanks.

 

Leah

 

Philadelphia, USA

Answer

Kat -   No, I think that this isn’t true because hair dye works on your hair which is kind of dead.  The bit that produces the colour of your hair is the pigment, the melanin pigment that’s in the hair follicle and this isn’t affected by hair dye.  I think probably if you're dyeing your hair, you might notice that you're going grey, the white hairs coming through more or maybe when you stop dyeing it, suddenly you're like, “Crikey!  I'm really grey.”  But I don't think that dying your hair is actually going to affect your hair follicles.  So no, I don't think it makes you go white faster.

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