Think Twice Before Plucking Your Gray Hair. Here's Why.

For some, graying can be a beautiful and natural part of the aging process. For others, it can feel somewhat vulnerable and uncomfortable. If you've ever been tempted to pluck an emerging gray hair from your scalp, you may have hesitated from the fear of more growing in its place. While this has proven to be a myth, plucking gray strands can still have some undesirable effects, some of which may have you thinking twice before picking up the tweezers (via The Healthy).

Gray hairs can begin sprouting at a variety of ages for any number of reasons. Some contributing factors include diet, stress, and whether or not graying by a certain age runs in your family (via The Washington Post). The reason behind this pigment change lies in the cells contained in melanin, the molecule responsible for our hair and skin color (via Scientific American). When the process of pigmentation slows or these cells in our hair follicles begin to die off, it results in our hair changing gray or white in color (via Healthline).

Plucking can lead to infection, scarring, or bald spots

Additional research suggests that graying can also occur as a natural result of our body's hydrogen peroxide production (via Science Daily). Gerald Weissmann, M.D., explains, "All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot." As the build up of hydrogen peroxide in our hair follicles increases, it interferes with the natural pigmentation process.

Though it would be nice if these hairs could forever be taken care of in one quick pull, dermatologists confirm that the strand will likely continue to grow back gray once again (via Best Health). Additionally, plucking can cause damage to our scalp. Physician Shaskank Kraleti cautions, "Plucking can traumatize the hair follicle, and repeated trauma to any follicle can cause infection, scar formation or possibly lead to bald patches" (via UAMS Health). Contrary to popular belief about hair removal, plucking too deep is actually possible. Plucked hairs found with a red root tip of blood indicate decreased chances of regrowth and reinforce the risk of bald spots.

Some alternatives to plucking include trimming, the use of hair dye, or the choice to let your gray hairs grow out. All of these are options to help keep us feeling confident while preserving our scalp and skin health.