advertisement
19 June 2009

Smoke today, grey tomorrow

Need another reason to give kids why they shouldn't smoke? It causes hair to turn grey at an earlier age.

0
Need another reason to give kids why they shouldn't smoke? It causes hair to turn grey at an earlier age.

The effect is subtle, but genuine. Smoking also appears to accelerate other natural aging processes, such as skin sagging and wrinkles. By middle age, long-time smokers can appear years older than non-smokers of the same age.

British research found smokers were much more likely to develop grey hair before the age of 50 compared with non-smokers.

As it happens, scientists are at work on a genetic fix for grey hair. The London Sunday Times describes how albino mice have been made to produce pigmented hair. The process works by using pigment-producing genes suspended in fatty globules called liposomes. After being rubbed into the skin, cells in the hair follicles pick up the genes and start making pigment. This won't be coming to a hair salon near you any time soon, however. Ironing out the technical and safety details will take several years.

Tobacco isn't the only cause of premature ageing. The Associated Press reports on research conducted in Canada: Studies in identical twins showed that given the same genetic makeup, smoking, tanning and heavy alcohol use can all make someone look prematurely older.

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.