Here's why you must never pluck grey hair – The Indian Express

Premature greying of hair is a common problem that afflicts both men and women these days. The sight of grey hair can be frustrating, which is why many people resort to plucking the strands out, as opposed to leaving them there or even choosing to colour them.
But, plucking may not be the ideal solution. Dr Priyanka Reddy, founder and chief dermatologist at DNA Skin Clinic says that greying of hair occurs due reduction of a pigment that gives colour to our skin and hair: melanin.
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“This occurs as we age, which is inevitable. A lot of young people, however, also have premature greying of hair, if they are genetically predisposed to it, as genes control melanin production,” she explains, adding that there are many other factors, too, that contribute to greying.
1. Vitamin deficiencies: Deficiency of vitamin B12, vitamin D can lead to premature greying.
2. Autoimmune disorders like vitiligo: A condition where there is complete absence of melanin due to destruction of melanin-producing cells — melanocytes — causing grey or white hair in the areas affected.
3. Thyroid disorders: They can cause premature greying, which can be temporary and can be reversed by taking thyroid treatment.
4. Smoking, stress, poor sleep: These habits can also trigger premature greying and fasten the aging process.
The expert says that it is ideal to consult a dermatologist to address any underlying causes.
Hair plucking myths and why you should avoid it
According to Dr Reddy, one must not pluck their grey strands, not because it will lead to a spurt of grey hair — as is normally believed, but is actually a myth — but because of other reasons.
“Plucking one grey hair from a follicle will not give rise to more greys, because there is only one hair that can grow from one follicle. Also, plucking one grey hair will not cause the surrounding hair to turn grey, because greying happens when melanin in that particular hair is affected,” she explains.
So, why should you avoid pulling your grey hair?
“If you are concerned about your hair greying and the sight of it makes you want to pull the strands, know that while it may not seem like a big deal, it can lead to some serious damage,” the doctor warns.
* The follicles can get infected and it can lead to the formation of a pustule.
* Repeated plucking can cause trauma, scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in the area.
* It can also lead to irreversible hair loss from that follicle. While the exact number of times one needs to pluck the hair to cause this damage is not known, there is enough evidence that permanent damage is possible.
* Trichotillomania, a condition where patients tend to pluck their hair repeatedly from the same area which, over a period of time, can cause scarring and permanent hair loss.
* Traction alopecia, a condition which is caused by pulling the hair into tight hairstyles which can lead to permanent loss or thinning of hair and receding frontal hairline.
What is the solution?
“If those grey strands right in front of your scalp are bothering you, Instead of plucking them out, consider carefully cutting them with a pair of scissors. If you have a lot of grey hair, dyeing them is an option,” the doctor concludes.
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