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If You Pull Out Gray Hair, Will More Grow?

No matter who you are, at some point in life you'll start getting gray hairs. For some people, this occurs later in life, and for others, it can happen in their teens or early 20s. While going gray is natural and an inevitable part of life, it's hard to fight the urge to pull those pesky grays when you first spot them.

If you pull out grey hair, will more grow? An old wives' tales says it will, but is there any truth to this much-believed myth? Read on to find out the facts and fiction about pulling gray hair, as well as the best all-natural hair care products for combatting gray hair naturally.

How Gray Hair Occurs

"Every single hair is bonded by a hair follicle that contains its own pigment cell," explained Dr. Anna Chacon, a dermatologist with My Psoriasis Team. "These pigment cells take responsibility for constantly generating melanin, which gives new hair its color in its new growth process."

Melanin is what determines skin color, but it also determines hair color as well. As people age, the pigment-producing cells in the hair follicles begin to die and once there are fewer pigment cells in the hair follicles, hair becomes lighter, eventually turning completely white. "This is the process that makes your hair turn gray," said Dr. Chacon.

While it's common for most people to find their first gray or white hair in their 40s or 50s, the truth is that older people are not the only ones who get gray hair. Many people in their 20s or even younger can find a smattering of gray hairs on their heads or can go totally gray prematurely.

Premature graying in younger adults is really dependent upon several factors including genes, oxidative stress, depression or even underlying health issues.

Read More: Why Some People Get Gray Hair Earlier Than Others, According to a Dermatologist

Does Plucking Gray Hairs Really Make More Grow Back?

Sadly, plucking white hair is only a short-term solution. "A gray hair can be momentarily removed by plucking," explained hair expert Lauren Holland. "They will ultimately grow back, just like strands that fall out naturally. It will be the same shade as the one you pulled out when it does, too."

But what about old wives' tales that if you pull out only one hair, more will more grow in its place? Is there any validity to this claim?

"Just to be clear, it's a myth," Holland said. "Plucking one gray hair won't cause more gray hairs to grow back. Each follicle has its unique genetic makeup. Plucking one hair does not affect the neighboring hairs."

Read More: How to Prevent Gray Hair

Side Effects of Plucking Gray or White Hair

If pulling one gray won't affect surrounding hairs, what's the harm in pulling out a few gray hairs on your head, especially if you're jus starting to go gray? The experts advise against it for a few reasons.

Hair Thinning

Plucking out your hairs can thin out your hair, and unless you have tons of hair to spare, this is never a good idea. The more you pluck in the same spot, the thinner your hair will be. Even if you fancy yourself to be an expert in plucking white hair, odds are you're still going to pull out a few pigmented strands. It might seem like you're pulling a single strand here and there, but it adds up, and too much plucking can result in a bald patch that might be difficult to hide.

Bald Patches and Infection

There is also a chance that plucking gray hair can cause permanent damage to the follicle, which could result in it no longer producing any hair. Plucking hair causes repeated trauma to the follicle, and you risk having bald patches, scar formation and even worse, an infection. In rare cases, an infection can also occur at the plucking sites, and the last thing you want to do is risk harming your overall scalp microbiome.

More Unruly Grays

Damaging the hair follicle can also cause it to produce less sebum, resulting in a new gray hair that is dry and has a coarse texture. So while you might not have as many noticeable grays, you're asking for even more difficult hairs to grow in their place.

So, what can be done outside of coloring your hair?

Tips to Prevent Premature Graying of Hair

While there are certain elements to going gray that you cannot control, such as genetics, Holland explains that sometimes graying at a younger age results from dietary issues and that sometimes supplementing your diet with more nutrient-dense foods or supplements can help.

"Deficiencies in vitamin D3 and vitamin B12 can accelerate graying," she said. "To prevent this, you must change your diet and add food rich in these vitamins. Trout, salmon, mushrooms and eggs can increase your vitamin D3, while beef liver, clams and tuna can add more vitamin B12. Eat more of these foods to maintain your daily requirements and prevent graying hair."

Other things that can cause premature graying are stress, health issues or not getting enough sleep. Meditating regularly or adjusting your schedule to make time for more rest and relaxation can help. In rare cases, premature graying is a sign that something is not right with your health, so if you think you may be experiencing health conditions like alopecia areata, vitiligo or anemia, speak with your healthcare provider.

Read More: 4 Foods to Eat to Delay Gray Hair, According to a Nutritionist

Natural Alternatives to Going Gray

If you can't pluck gray hair, what are your options? Good news: there are plenty of natural alternatives to going gray. It's possible to reduce the appearance of gray hair naturally that doesn't involve coloring your hair, which can be damaging to the cuticle.

If you are experiencing graying as a result of a vitamin or nutrient deficiency, VEGAMOUR GRO AGELESS Gray Delay Hair Supplement can help. These clean, high-performing soft gels contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and also botanicals to help preserve your hair's natural pigment for longer, delaying even more gray. In clinical trials, people saw healthier-looking hair in 30 days, as well as fewer new grays in just 60 days. By 90 days, they noted delayed graying of hair and increased natural hair color. Taking this supplement daily sure beats dealing with bald patches or infections due to plucking.

Pair that with our GRO AGELESS Anti-Gray Hair Serum, which you can use daily to help reduce the appearance of gray on new hair growth and restore natural hair color and shine to your hair in as little as 90 days. With continued daily use, your natural color can continue to thrive, reducing the appearance of overall grays.

The Takeaway

Tweezing and pulling your gray hairs will not result in an entire forest of gray hairs growing with a vengeance, but the experts still advise against it. If you do pluck your grays, you run the risk of permanentely damaging your hair follicle, and you're also rolling the dice with scalp infections and scarring at the site where you pulled out the hairs.

Going gray is totally natural, so if you only have a little bit of sparkle, count yourself lucky to have lived so long. If you're not ready to embrace your grays, there's no shame in coloring your hair or using less damaging techniques to preserve your natural color like gray blending.

If you want to attack the problem from a holistic angle, consider making healthy changes to your lifestyle, adding more nutrient-rich foods to your diet and exploring products that help combat gray hair naturally.


Photo credit: Clay Banks/Unsplash

    Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.