What Is Graying of Hair?
Premature graying of hair (PGH) is a condition of change in hair color to gray before the age of 20. It is also called canities or achromotrichia. However, the period at which it occurs varies in different races. It makes the person appear older than their age, causing poor self-esteem and personality issues.
What Are the Causes of Hair Graying?
The leading cause of graying of hair is a reduction in melanin synthesis by pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes. These cells are present in the roots of hairs called the hair follicle. The point when hair turns gray is not only decided by age (usually average age of graying is the late 30s to 40s, depending on the race), but it also depends on certain other factors like genetics and heredity. Given below is a detailed explanation of some of the causes of graying of hair -
Graying of hairs may be related to genetics. It is possible to have gray hair if the mother or father of the individual has prematurely gray hair. Moreover, it is also related to geography and race, as people in certain countries have gray hair much earlier than people in other countries. White people tend to get gray hair even in their 20s, while Asian people usually get gray hair after their mid-20s, and in Africans and Americans, gray hair usually starts to appear after age 30.
Stress is one of the other most common reasons for gray hair. However, it is also related to other conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure, sleep issues, and skin disorders.
Diet can also lead to graying of hair. For example, patients who eat more processed food and cold drinks and have excess salt and sugar intake are at an increased risk of gray hair.
4. Vitamin Deficiency
A deficiency of vitamins such as vitamins B, D, E, and biotin can cause premature graying of hair. However, this can be corrected by taking vitamin supplements.
5. Pollution or Weather Conditions
Pollutants in the air can damage melanin cells, speeding up the hair-graying process.
6. Chemical Hair Products
Some hair care products like shampoos and conditioners can lead to premature greying of hair because of the presence of harmful chemicals, which leads to a decrease in the melanin content. Moreover, some hair dyes contain chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and bleaching agents that can cause hair whitening if used for a long.
Smoking constricts blood vessels, reducing the blood flow to hair follicles and leads to hair loss. In addition, the toxins lead to the graying of hair way earlier than expected.
8. Health Issues
Conditions such as thyroid and autoimmune disorders (conditions in which the immune system of the body destroys its cells instead of protecting them) can affect hair pigmentation. For example, thyroid hormone imbalance reduces melanin production and causes hair to turn gray.
9. Exposure to the Sun
Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause disturbance in color-producing cells and increase the risk of premature graying of hair.
How to Prevent Premature Graying?
If other family members have experienced the same problem during childhood, the children will also have it in their genes. In that case, nothing can be done, as it is a natural process that may worsen with age. If premature graying of hair is not present in the family, lack of proper nutrients is probably the main cause.
General measures to follow -
Children should be provided with food rich in iron, vitamin B12, and protein, like fresh green leafy vegetables, fruits, juices, white meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.
Avoid excessive intake of soda, cakes, candies, chocolates, and other foods that include refined sugar.
Avoid soaps and shampoos that are loaded with chemicals.
Besides providing a healthy diet, it is important to check whether the children suffer from any diseases like
Hypo or hyperthyroidism - Decrease or increase in the production of thyroid hormone.
Pernicious Anemia - Blood disorder due to vitamin B12 deficiency).
Vitiligo - It is a condition that causes a change in skin color due to loss of skin pigmentation.
Avoid stress, and practice meditation and yoga to keep the mind free.
Protect hair from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
How to Stop Graying Hair?
Treatment of gray hair starts with identifying whether the type of graying is natural or premature and the underlying cause of it. Then, the healthcare professional may prescribe shampoos, oils, serums, and hair masks. Moreover, nutritional supplements can also be prescribed.
2. Cosmetic Shampoos
These shampoos help in changing the color of hair from gray to natural color and also reform the texture of hair.
3. Essential Oils
Oils help maintain melanin content to the maximum levels. Oils like rosemary, sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, fenugreek, argan, and amla are readily available in the market and can treat gray hair.
4. Food Sources
Antioxidant-rich foods help fight free radicals in the body, which are free atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. These free radicals can damage the body while searching for an electron. Foods like berries, broccoli, and fish are loaded with antioxidants that help reverse the premature graying of hair.
What Are the Home Remedies for Gray Hair?
Natural ingredients can be used to slow down the process of premature greying of hair. Some of the ingredients that can be used for this are as follows -
1. Curry Leaves - Curry leaves, along with coconut oil, can be used to stop the graying of hair.
2. Gooseberry or Amla - It is extremely rich in antioxidants, has anti-aging properties, and is one of the best methods to treat gray hair.
3. Black Tea - It consists of tannic acid, which helps in making hair darker and shinier.
4. Coconut Oil - Applying coconut oil daily can also help reduce gray hair.
6. Blackstrap molasses.
7. Ghee - Massaging the scalp and hair with pure ghee can also reduce gray hair.
8. Carrot juice - Drinking eight ounces of carrot juice daily can help treat gray hair.
Premature graying of hair primarily depends upon the amount of melanin produced by the hair follicles. However, stress, nutritional deficiency, and lifestyle changes can reduce melanin production. Therefore, a balanced diet and taking care of the hair by using natural products can help reverse the condition of gray hair.
Frequently Asked Questions