Hair graying is caused by the slow but gradual reduction in the activities of the melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells concerned with the production of the pigment melanin, which imparts color to the hair follicles.
The production of melanin by the melanocytes reduces gradually over a period of time, and then ultimately stops altogether. It is a natural process that cannot be prevented. However, the process of hair graying can be slowed down, especially when it occurs prematurely. Premature hair graying can be associated with certain medical or health conditions, that cause hair to lose pigments quite early.
Gray Hair Causes
The age at which a person is likely to experience hair graying is basically determined by genetics. So, one can expect to get gray hair at an early age, if his or her parents have also experienced premature graying. However, factors other than heredity can also have an impact on hair color.
Such factors can include, nutritional deficiencies, especially the deficiency of vitamin B12, zinc, iodine, and iron, prolonged periods of illness or stress, smoking, thyroid problems, and skin disorders, like tuberous sclerosis and vitiligo. Many times, an unhealthy diet and wrong eating habits can also cause premature graying. The excessive consumption of fried, oily, spicy, and acidic foods, and coffee and other caffeinated beverages may be associated with this condition.
Tips to Control Hair Graying
Hair dyes can no doubt cover those gray strands easily, but some of them might contain certain harsh chemicals. Therefore, never forget to check the ingredients of a hair dye before applying it on your hair. The chemicals found in some hair dyes can damage your hair. Such chemicals include, ammonium peroxide and alcohol. These chemicals can be harsh on your hair, and make them dry and brittle.
As we know, hair graying can be associated with certain underlying conditions, which if addressed properly can help prevent further graying. Usually, hair loss and premature hair graying have been found to be associated with a diet that fails to provide the essential nutrients required for maintaining the health of hair and skin.
The most important vitamins required for the healthy growth of hair are B vitamins, especially vitamin B5, biotin, and vitamin B12. Apart from vitamins, nutrients like zinc, folic acid, iodine, iron, and proteins are also required for preventing premature graying.
So, include foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, fish, eggs, poultry, dairy products, lentils, oatmeal, whole grains, seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and lots of fruits in your diet. At the same time, quit smoking and reduce the intake of caffeine, as it can interfere with the proper utilization or absorption of some vital nutrients.
Natural Gray Hair Remedies
There are not enough scientific evidence to support that natural remedies can prevent or reverse hair graying. But these remedies are known for centuries to nourish hair and ensure its healthy growth. They may prove effective in slowing down the process of graying as well.
A few of the most renowned natural gray hair solutions are enlisted below:
- Amla or Indian gooseberry with its high vitamin C content is believed to be effective in improving hair pigmentation. To use this simple home remedy, you need to cut the berries into small pieces, and then dry them completely in the sun. Now, boil the dried pieces in coconut oil, until the oil turns dark. This dark oil, known as amla oil can be used to massage your scalp and hair to promote hair growth, and prevent your hair from turning gray.
- Instead of boiling Indian gooseberries in coconut oil, you can also make a thick paste by mixing amla powder with coconut oil. This is one of the simplest remedies for premature hair graying.
- Sage herb can also be used for preventing hair graying. You can make a hair rinse by boiling sage herb with some water for about 20 to 30 minutes. Let the herb soak in water for a few hours. Now, use this thick solution on your hair, allow it to dry completely, and then rinse it off with water.
- Curry leaf is known to be effective in restoring hair pigmentation. You can boil a few curry leaves in coconut oil, and then use this oil to massage your scalp and hair. You can also include curry leaves in your diet.
- If you want to color your gray strands of hair, but do not want to go for a hair dye, then try henna powder. Henna powder is an excellent hair conditioner that can color your gray hair. You can make a paste of henna powder with water, or mix it with castor oil and lemon juice to make a paste. Apply this paste on your scalp and hair, and leave it for about an hour before rinsing it off with clean water.
- Another natural remedy can be made by combining henna powder with fenugreek seed powder and yogurt. Mix all these ingredients properly to make a fine paste, and apply this on your hair. Let it sit for about 2 to 3 hours, and then rinse it off with clean water.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.