Hair greying is an eventual and irreversible reality of life and is often associated with growing old. But how and why exactly does black turn white? The answer lies in a chemical called melanin. The root of every hair strand under the scalp is surrounded by a tube of hair tissue called hair follicle which contains pigment cells. These pigment cells produce the chemical called melanin that gives the hair strand its colour – black, brown, blonde, red et al.
When a person grows older, these pigment cells begin to die and the melanin production reduces too, making the strand less colourful and more transparent – grey, silver or white. And that is why hair greying is associated with age.
Even though genetics and hereditary factors play a major role in determining the time of your hair turning grey, statistics show that the average age for Caucasians to go grey is mid 30’s, Asians is late 30’s and African- Americans is mid 40’s.
But there has been a drastic change in these figures with the growing number of younger people in their 20’s and younger reporting grey hair. This premature greying of hair has been related to several factors.
A number of medical conditions as well as lifestyle choices have been related to premature greying of hair.
- Thyroid Disease: An underactive or overactive thyroid can affect the melanin production in the hair which can cause premature greying.
- B12 Deficiency: Deficiency of B12 has also been linked to premature greying of hair.
- Vitiligo: Vitiligo is a disease that is caused when the pigment producing cells in your skin and hair are damaged. Once the cells in your scalp are damaged, melanin production is reduced and hair begins to turn grey.
It is advisable to see a doctor if you experience premature greying of hair and have a reason to believe that it is not hereditary. This is essential so that you can rule out these serious disorders that have caused early hair greying.
While some medical conditions are the cause for premature greying of hair, it is not always the case. There are a number of lifestyle choices too that have been related to it.
- Faulty diet
- Nutritional deficiency
- Excessive use of electric dryers and hair irons
If you are still in your 20’s or younger and have noticed a grey strand already, it’s time to get alert. Check on your lifestyle choices to make appropriate changes. If you think you need to see a doctor, ensure you do that at the earliest.
Once hair starts greying, people quickly turn to chemical procedures and products to hide these grey stands. But here are a few natural home remedies that can help you with the situations.
- An effective remedy for premature greying hair is to use curry leaves (kadi patta). You should include them in your daily diet or you could boil them in coconut oil and apply it on your scalp once it cools off.
- Indian gooseberry which is also known as amla is effective for treating premature greying of hair. Cut the berry and dry it; once it’s dried mix it with coconut oil until the matter becomes powdery and then apply it on your hair.
- You can use ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) on your scalp to avoid premature greying of hair. Ashwagandha is known to increase the melanin content in your hair follicle.