As I have mentioned, I am not a natural redhead—I am a redhead by choice. I still think this counts me as a ginger since I have the appropriate freckled porcelain skin tone, and several of my natural ginger friends agree with this assessment (even if one of their non-ginger spouses *ahem, Ren* did not). So my redheaded-ness comes from a handy kit from the grocery store and must be periodically reapplied. In the interim, my natural mousey-brownish-dark-blondish locks try to reassert control over my head via pushing the redness away from my scalp and replacing it with every hair-dye aficionado’s oldest foe: roots.
I was very near the appropriate time for reapplication a year or two ago during a visit to my crazy family out in the boonies (i.e., rural Northeast Texas). I don’t remember what we were doing, by my mom was staring curiously at my long tresses and made the comment every woman nearing the big 3-0 comes to dread:
“Is that a gray hair?”
I instantly went into crazy-panicked-obsessive mode. Normally I have no qualms about aging, but for some reason the idea that a hair on my head might potentially be GRAY *dun, dun, DUN!!!!!* was simply unacceptable. I recolored my hair the instant I got back to my apartment and began examining the root of every shedding to determine its hue. This went on for months (and to be honest, I still do it sometimes…okay, a lot). And after many such evaluations, I at last came to the truth:
I am not going prematurely gray. I’m going blonde.
This may sound like some weird miracle of modern science, but I assure you I have not found the fountain of hair-youth here. I was actually blonde as a child. I came kicking and screaming from the womb with jet-black locks which stayed attached to my scalp just long enough to be photographed, only to vacate the premises entirely while my age could still be counted in days. When it grew back, I was a cotton-top. It got progressively more golden as I grew into toddlerhood, and by the time I started junior high it had darkened to the bland mousey brownness that I have spent more money covering up than I care to tabulate.
But now, as I officially transition from mid to late-twenties, I am seeing more and more pesky roots returning to their former golden glory. Especially around my face. There’s this one patch at my left temple so palely blonde that it looks kind of white in comparison to the rest of my head—hence my mother’s terrifying yet wholly inaccurate query. I’m talking cotton-top blonde. Albino blonde. So blonde that if I put the root of a stray strand of hair against a sheet of paper, the hair all but disappears.
I was discussing this odd phenomenon with one of my friends, and she made an interesting observation: all this root-color regression began shortly after I went gluten free. I know she was just joking when she quipped, “Maybe the gluten turned your hair brown,” but it’s an idea I just can’t seem to get out of my head.
All those years of undiagnosed gluten intolerance certainly caused me a lot of problems. It made my bowl movements highly irregular for as long as I can remember, getting worse the older I got. It made me anemic and, I’m convinced, destroyed my immune system in college. It made me hypoglycemic and lactose intolerant post-college. By the time I was diagnosed, I had a lot of other random symptoms, too, including periodic numbness in my hands and feet. Going on three years later, most of these have either gone away completely or at least improved exponentially.
But could it have possibly altered the shade of my hair? Hair is basically protein, right? So if I stop eating a particular protein, can that affect in what color the filamentous biomaterial on top of my cranium grows?
I’ve done a bit of research (i.e., Googled “can gluten change your hair color?”), and there do seem to be a lot of people who experienced hair changes after changing their diets. Specifically people with gray hair having it start growing in with more color and hair coming in gray after gluten exposure. But so far I haven’t found anything about hair coming in lighter after eliminating the big G. And I figured rather than reading through endless discussion boards that don’t exactly address my question, I’d just ask all of you.
So, anybody with me on this? Any childhood-blonde gluten free eaters out there whose hair has started returning to its original hue? Anybody? Is this thing even on?