Mark asks…

What hairs are the last to lose their colour with age?

Helen answers:


A gray-haired man
Children born with some hair colors may find it gradually darkens as they grow. Many blond, strawberry blond, light brown, or red haired infants experience this. This is caused by genes being turned off and on during early childhood and puberty.[9]
Changes in hair color typically occur naturally as people age, eventually turning the hair gray and then white. This is called achromotrichia. More than 40 percent of Americans have some gray hair by age 40, but white hair can appear as early as childhood[citation needed]. The age at which graying begins seems almost entirely due to genetics. Sometimes people are born with gray hair because they inherit the trait.
Two genes appear to be responsible for the process of graying, Bcl2 and Bcl-w[10] The change in hair color occurs when melanin ceases to be produced in the hair root and new hairs grow in without pigment. The stem cells at the base of hair follicles produce melanocytes, the cells that produce and store pigment in hair and skin. The death of the melanocyte stem cells causes the onset of graying.[11] It remains unclear why the stem cells of one hair follicle may die well over a decade before those in adjacent follicles less than a millimeter apart.
The anti-cancer drug Imatinib has recently been shown to reverse the graying process. However, it is much too expensive with potentially severe and deadly side effects to be used to alter a person’s hair color. Nevertheless, if the mechanism of action of Imatinib on melanocyte stem cells can be discovered, it is possible that a safer and less expensive substitute drug might someday be developed.[12]
Generally, black hair is more common in men than in women. A recent study found that blond and red hair are more common in women than in men.[13][14]
Medical conditions
Albinism is a genetic abnormality in which little or no pigment is found in human hair, eyes or skin. The hair is often white or pale blond. However, it can be red, darker blond, light brown, or rarely, even dark brown.
Vitiligo is a patchy loss of hair and skin color that may occur as the result of an auto-immune disease.
Malnutrition is also known to cause hair to become lighter, thinner, and more brittle. Dark hair may turn reddish or blondish due to the decreased production of melanin. The condition is reversible with proper nutrition.
Werner syndrome and pernicious anemia can also cause premature graying.
A recent study demonstrated that people 50–70 years of age with dark eyebrows but gray hair are significantly more likely to have type II diabetes than those with both gray eyebrows and hair.[15]
Artificial factors
A 1996 British Medical Journal study conducted by J.G. Mosley, MD found that tobacco smoking may cause premature graying. Smokers were found to be four times more likely to begin graying prematurely, compared to nonsmokers.[16]
Gray hair may temporarily darken after inflammatory processes, after electron-beam-induced alopecia, and after some chemotherapy regimens. Much remains to be learned about the physiology of human graying.[17]
There are no special diets, nutritional supplements, vitamins, nor proteins that have been proven to slow, stop, or in any way affect the graying process, although many have been marketed over the years. However, French scientists treating leukemia patients with a new cancer drug noted an unexpected side effect: some of the patients’ hair color was restored to their pre-gray color.[18]
Changes after death
The hair color of mummies or buried bodies can change. Hair contains a mixture of black-brown-yellow eumelanin and red pheomelanin. Eumelanin is less chemically stable than pheomelanin and breaks down faster when oxidized. It is for this reason that Egyptian mummies have reddish hair. The color of hair changes faster under extreme conditions. It changes more slowly under dry oxidizing conditions (such as in burials in sand or in ice) than under wet reducing conditions (such as burials in wood or plaster coffins).[19]

Michael asks…

is evening primrose tablets good for hair and skin?

i am 32 yrs old and want to know if these tablets do any good as i am suffering from heavy loss of hair.and will this tablets affect hair on face to grow more?????please suggest with good answers

Helen answers:

I descovered Evening Primrose recently, and was amazed when I started researching it’s effects. It’s most well-known for balencing out hormones to prevent PMS, particularly the emotional and psychological symptoms, as well as reducing the painful owyness of breast tenderness. However, in research it has also been shown to help reduce various skin conditions including exzema (sorry about the spelling) and acne. It also helps to strengthen nails and has shown to be of benefit in helping alcoholics when going through rehabilitation programmes. When I started reading about it I was absolutely astonished – it seems to be a bit of a wonder-plant!

I might not be putting this in the best way, so here is some info copied from online sources, which is less personal than the stuff i’ve written about but which is more reliable for pure fact:

“Evening Primrose Oil Benefits and Side Effects

Evening primrose is a wildflower that grows throughout North America, Europe and some parts of Asia. The seeds of this plant, whose flowers open in the evening, contain oil that is rich in essential fatty acids and is touted among nutritionists for its healing powers.

Evening primrose oil is one of the most concentrated sources of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties. The body converts the GLA in evening primrose oil into prostaglandins, substances that function like hormones and help to regulate body processes. Cell membranes depend on GLA.

Evening primrose oil is used for a variety of conditions, including skin problems, premenstrual symptoms and inflammation. Many women that suffer from premenstrual syndrome have low levels of GLA, which is why evening primrose oil supplements may help to alleviate symptoms of the condition.

Evening primrose oil is often recommended to reduce breast tenderness and pain caused by fibrocystic breasts, and it can also help to ease menstrual cramps, endometriosis and mood swings related to the menstrual cycle. As an anti-inflammatory agent, evening primrose oil is also effective in treating flare-ups of irritable bowel syndrome, and studies show that it may be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis pain as well.

The GLA in evening primrose oil may also help to prevent and even repair nerve damage caused by diabetes. At least one study has shown that symptoms like tingling, numbness and loss of sensation associated with diabetic neuropathy improved when patients took supplements of evening primrose oil. In addition, inflammation in kidneys, joints and skin associated with lupus may improve with the use of evening primrose oil.

Further, damage caused by inflammation in people multiple sclerosis, as well as other inflammatory processes may be reduced or prevented with evening primrose oil supplements. Evening primrose oil is also thought to be capable of encouraging transmission of nerve impulses, making it of possible use in treating memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It can also help compensate for deficiencies in GLA associated with aging.

One of the most proven benefits of evening primrose oil appears to be its ability to treat dry, scaly, or itchy skin conditions, such as rosacea, acne and atopic dermatitis. It appears that the prostaglandins produced by evening primrose oil contract blood vessels that become inflamed with these skin conditions. Evening primrose oil may also help prevent pores from becoming clogged, and it may reduce reliance on corticosteroids by patients with certain skin conditions as well.

Evening primrose oil is available in capsules and in liquid form. The usual dosage is about three grams per day for most conditions. Side effects are uncommon but may include bloating and abdominal discomfort in a small percentage of people.

To minimize any unpleasant side effects from the use of evening primrose oil capsules, it is best to take them with food. This will also help to ensure adequate absorption of GLA. Other nutrients that are important for the body to utilize the GLA in evening primrose oil are zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium. When evening primrose oil is used to treat skin conditions, it may take several months to notice positive effects.”

— Source 1

“Evening primrose has been used in the treatment of heart and circulatory disease, breast disorders, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome, asthma, diabetic neuropathy, eczema and other skin disorders, zinc deficiency, high cholesterol, and cancer.”

— Source 2
Source 1:…

Source 2:

Linda asks…

Anyone know why my 15 year old toy poodle is hungry all the time?

He is loosing or lost his hearing and sight but still has smell and boy does he smell things out. He.will eat anything. I have been feeding him cucumbers and he can eat a whole hot house cucumber without any problem. I had his blood sugar checked and it was normal…any ideas other than he is going to eat shit and die? Was going to try him on some magnesium minerals but don’t know how much to give him any ideas on that. This happen after we were gone for a month on vacation and he stayed with a friend and lost weight down to where he should be and then he went nuts wanting to eat all the time and went to my neighbors house to eat the bread they throw out for the sandhilll cranes so we bought a fence now he eats our brids seeds that fall out of the cages and poop from the other dogs and cats if we don’t clean it up. Any ideas?
I feed him 1/3 Cup of Call of the Wild dog food:, Salmon and sweet potatoe 2 x’s a day with cucumbers, Missing Link for joints and a couple bites of roasted chicken breast and maybe a bite of brown rice. Iams low cal treats. His teeth are brushed every night with enzyme tooth tx. He has alklined water of 8.5ph…what can I do?

Helen answers:

See your vet. There are a number of health problems more commonly seen in older dogs (aside from the KNOWN side-effects of certain medications like B-12 or prednisone) which can cause increased hunger. Do NOT self-medicate – by giving magnesium (which will not help) but can cause diarrhea.

Have your dog dog tested for:
Cushing’s disease
Causes/Predispositions: Given that tumor incidence increases with age and that tumors are the cause of Cushing’s disease, it is logical that Cushing’s disease is a problem seen most frequently in middle-aged or older dogs. The average canine Cushing’s patient is 10 years old. I have seen literature stating that there is no difference between genders, as well as literature citing that FEMALES are more likely to become Cushingoid. Spayed/neutered dogs may have a slightly greater incidence of Cushing’s, as well.

Although all breeds are at risk, some breeds reported to be at greater risk include: *POODLE,*** Yorkshire terrier, beagle, Boston terrier, boxer, dachshund, German shepherd dog, golden retriever, Labrador retriever, Scottish terrier, and terriers in general. Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s is more common in small dogs, with 75% of cases being in dogs under 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Adrenal-based Cushing’s cases, on the other hand, occur 50-55% of the time in dogs under 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

Symptoms: Symptoms of Cushing’s disease can be vague and varied and tend to appear gradually and progressively. It is thus easy to mistake Cushing’s disease for normal aging. Additionally, many of the clinical symptoms are not unique to Cushing’s and could reflect a number of other health concerns.

The most common symptoms include:
• increased/excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
• increased/excessive urination (polyuria)
• urinary accidents in previously house trained dogs
• increased/EXCESSIVE APPETITE (polyphagia)****************************
• appearance of food stealing/guarding, begging, trash dumping, etc.*************
• sagging, bloated, pot-bellied appearance
• weight gain or its appearance, due to fat redistribution
• loss of muscle mass, giving the appearance of weight loss
• bony, skull-like appearance of head
• exercise intolerance, lethargy, general or hind-leg weakness
• new reluctance to jump on furniture or people
• excess panting, seeking cool surfaces to rest on
• symmetrically thinning hair or baldness (alopecia) on torso
• other coat changes like dullness, dryness
• slow regrowth of hair after clipping
• thin, wrinkled, fragile, and/or darkly pigmented skin
• easily damaged/bruised skin that heals slowly
• hard, calcified lumps in the skin (calcinosis cutis)
• susceptibility to infections (especially skin and urinary)
• diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures

John asks…

Is it better (healthier) to have your hair down or up? ?

I have heard that keeping your hair up in a ponytail or braid or bun breaks your hair since it is tight or something.

But I keep my hair down and because its long it gets really knotted and then I pull so many out while tryingto brush it.

Which one is better?

Helen answers:

It’s better NOT TO STRESS the hair, specially if you’ve got thin hair, relaxed hair or taking medications – they have side effects that could tamper the hair from hair loss to thinning hair. Example: low thyroids have side effects with hair loss, and so does acne medications, but that depends on a person, too.

Putting your hair up, is another way of stressing up the hair.

Keeping your hair down, and doing very little other than a normal wash, comb/brush/ and go is better for the hair ANYTIME.

Frequent tight pony tails, can thin the sides of the hair, too, and I’ve seen Kourtney Kardashian with thinning sides.

HAIR WEAVES & BRAIDS: Some hairstyles, including tight braids and weaves, may increase the risk of developing an irreversible form of scarring hair loss, according to a new study in the Archives of Dermatology.
Seen predominately in African-American women, this type of hair loss, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, centers on the vertex (crown) of the scalp and spreads peripherally.
“Any style that causes too much tension and traction on the hair, such as braiding with artificial hair weaved in, can possibly lead to scarring hair loss,” says study author Angela Kyei, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
In the study, 326 African-American women answered questionnaires about their hair-grooming methods, health status, and other demographic information. Dermatologists then performed a scalp examination to grade hair loss.
Nearly 60% of the women showed signs of advanced central hair loss with scarring. The women were also more likely to have type 2 diabetes and bacterial scalp infections, and sport hair styles associated with traction, including braids and weaves, the study showed.
“But hair loss is permanent, meaning that we can inject steroids or creams but it won’t bring your hair back, so it’s very important to seek help with dermatologists early on,” she says.

Joseph asks…

Does Metformin cause hair loss?

I’ve looked up the side effects on this medication but have not recieved anything that says hair loss however it is the only thing I am taking and I am having a bit of hair loss. Its terrible.

Helen answers:

Those of us who never have had to take meds before do experience some hair loss with the introduction of these chemicals into our bods.

No, you won’t find hair loss in ANY of the monographs on any of the antidiabetic meds.

The bod eventually regulates to the new regime and you will quit loosing so many hairs to the brush! But at the same time, I don’t think it ever is as thick as it was before taking the meds.

This is 10 years now for me on Metformin. My hair is half as thick as it used to be. Maybe that is part of growing older as the doctor told me, but I don’t think so.

Believe me, it will stop after a while. You shouldn’t loose all of it or even half. Just brush your hair and be thankful we live in the 21st century where we have all these wonderful meds, testing supplies, and the internet to keep us semi-sane while we are learning about diabetes!

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