Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Questions for Dr. Karl, part II

I was listening to “Science on Mornings” a few days ago when a listener called in and asked just the question which had been lingering in my mind on and off for a few months now. The caller inquired about a grey hair he found on his head which was his natural colour for 2 cm from the root upwards but was grey from the 2 cm mark til’ the end of the hair i.e. his grey hair had reverted to his natural colour. The reason why I was inquisitive about this was because I have also noticed this phenomenon with a couple of my natural grey highlights. Dr. Karl was unable to answer this question scientifically. He basically said that the part of the hair-making factory responsible for hair colour had switched back on after being dormant. He wasn’t sure what could have been responsible for this reversion. Well, from my own short experience with my grey highlights, I would like to put forward the findings and reasoning of an experiment which I have conducted on myself. Coming from an Asian background, I have been encouraged to apply oil and massage my scalp daily to improve the strength and condition of my hair. I had never done this regularly due to its impracticality, until just recently. For the last few of months I have been giving myself regular head massages sans oil, and this is when I noticed my own hair colour reversion! In my case, this has occurred with not just one hair but with three! Another interesting story my mother once shared with me was about an older family friend. This older friend had the habit of massaging just the one part of her head while watching TV. When this friend passed away, the one part of her head which endured regular massaging remained its natural colour whilst the rest of her head was fully grey. The most obvious and simple reasoning for the second and third case above is the combination of mechanical stimulation of the scalp and/or increased blood flow to the head (as a consequence of the stimulation), re-activating and maintaining, respectively, the melanin-producing cells (melanocytes). With the “Science on Mornings” caller, we will never know.

Edit: A friend posed this question just shortly after i posted this particular post: "I wonder what is the difference between hairs that permanently die and become grey and those that momentarily change??" To which i replied: "I think the hairs that permanantly "die" become really white and change compostion ie. become coarse and wirey. But the rest of them which are slightly grey/less black and not as coarse could be the ones that could have the potential to revert. This is all speculation, of course".

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