December 1, 2009
Genes Have More To Do With Graying Hair Than Stress
A new study suggests that a woman's genes are much more likely to cause graying hair than lifestyle factors such as stress or diet, BBC News reported.
Unilver scientists studied more than 200 identical and non-identical Danish twin sisters aged between 59 and 81 and found little difference between the grayness of the identical twins - who share the same genes.
But the study found that there was more difference between non-identical twins, whose genes differ.
Additionally, it was decided that receding hair is likely linked mostly to genetic factors.
However, some indications suggest that hair thinning on the top of the head is connected to environmental and lifestyle factors.
Lead researcher Dr. David Gunn said although many theories had been put forward to explain different rates of graying, there was little hard scientific evidence to support them.
"This study offers us a fascinating insight into the reason why women go grey and it certainly suggests that environmental factors are not as important as we once thought," said Gunn.
He said that the research indicates that irrespective of how stressful a woman's life is, there are greater forces at play that are more likely to cause her hair to grey.
Previous studies had also found few identifiable environmental factors among people who went grey much earlier than their relatives, according to Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists.
"For the majority of people, graying hair is not down to something you have done, but to genetic factors beyond your control, and that generally your lifestyle will not greatly impact on when your hair loses its color," she said.
But she added there are exceptions to the rule.
Genetics probably played a key role in controlling when hair turned grey, according to Dr. David Fisher of the Dana Faber Cancer Institute, who had has conducted research into graying.
But there was also some evidence to suggest exposure to certain types of chemical could also promote graying, he added.
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