The colour of our eyes, skin and hair is determined by the type and concentration of the pigment called Melanin. Melanin is produced in special cells called Melanocytes.
As we grow old, our body's production of melanin decreases, resulting in wrinkled skin and greying hair.
Ageing is a natural process and having grey or white hairs is a mark of wisdom. However, noticing salt and pepper hair while still young can be worrying and frustrating.
Hair shows signs of greying when a person reaches his or her mid-thirties.
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If greying occurs between 20 to 25 years of age, it is termed as premature greying of hair.
Causes For Premature Greying Of Hair
1. Nutrition Deficiency
Eating a balanced diet is the key to good health and beauty.
Lack of adequate amounts of iron, copper, calcium, biotin and important vitamins like B6, B12, D3 and E in the diet can cause greying in the hair strands.
Solution- Eat a balanced and healthy diet to keep your body nourished and youthful. Eat fruits, vegetables and nuts that are rich in antioxidants. Take dietary supplements like iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and rich fish oil supplements.
2. Personal Habits And Environmental factors
Smoking leads to oxidative stress which causes damage to melanocytes.
Similarly, prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful rays and intake of polluted air can damage the hair and accelerate greying.
Solution- Quit smoking. Smoking causes not only premature greying but also a host of other problems like high blood pressure, lung cancer etc. Cover your hair with a scarf or wide-brimmed hat while stepping out under the sun. Keep indoor plants to reduce air pollution.
[Also Read: Rice Water Benefits For Beautiful Hair And Flawless Skin]
3. Psychological Factors
It is a known fact that hypertension, stress and anxiety are bad for our mental and physical health.
While they do not directly cause greying but they aid and speed up the greying process.
Solution- Engage in relaxing activities to combat and control stress. Hobbies like gardening, painting, sewing etc help in destressing. Physical activities like running, dancing and yoga are great ways to combat stress and stay fit.
Prolonged exposure to the harmful chemicals in hair dyes and shampoos can lead to premature greying.
Chemical hair dyes contain Hydrogen Peroxide that bleaches the hair and turns it white. The water in swimming pools contains chlorine which damages the hair.
Solution- Use natural dyes like henna, coffee or beetroot instead of harsh chemical dyes. Use organic shampoos and hair products. Wear a swimming cap to protect your hair while swimming.
5. Genetics And Hormones
In some cases, early greying of hair is due to genetics. Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy and menopause can cause premature greying.
6. Medical Conditions
Health conditions like albinism and thyroid problems can turn the hair white.
Other medical conditions like alopecia areata, vitiligo and chemotherapy can prompt the new growing hairs to be white in colour.
Solution- There is no solution to premature greying caused by genes and certain medical conditions. Underlying health issues should be treated and grey hairs can be dyed.
10 Home Remedies For Premature Greying Of Hair
Henna is a natural Ayurvedic herb that has been used for dyeing hair and skin since ancient times. Henna has both colouring and conditioning properties.
Mix henna powder with yoghurt and egg whites in an iron pot and leave it overnight. Apply it on the hair the following day and rinse off with shampoo after it dries.
Bhringraj is another Ayurvedic herb that is used to treat hair problems. Bhringraj or 'False Daisy' reduces hair fall, makes the hair darker and prevents premature greying.
Blend bhringraj leaves to make a paste and mix it with coconut oil. Massage the scalp well with this oil and shampoo as usual. Bhringraj Oil can also be made by solar infusing a carrier oil with dried bhringraj balls.
[Also Read: 10 DIY Recipes For Herb Infused Hair Oils For All Your Hair Problems]
The Indian gooseberry or amla is very effective in treating hair issues. Amla is rich in antioxidants and anti-ageing properties.
Make Amla oil by mixing amla powder/juice with coconut oil. Heat it slightly and massage it into the scalp. You can also mix amla powder along with henna to make a powerful hair mask.
4. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves stop premature greying of hair. They are loaded with phosphorus, iron, calcium nicotinic acid and Vitamins A, B and C and E.
Heat coconut oil in a bowl and turn off the flame. Add finely chopped curry leaves to it and wait till black liquid coats the oil. Apply this oil along with the black grease to your hair and shampoo after an hour.
Hibiscus darkens the hair as well as delays premature greying. Hibiscus also gives the hair extra shine, bounce and lustre.
Mix hibiscus paste with coconut or almond oil and oil your hair with it. Another alternative is to boil hibiscus petals in water and use the water to wash your hair.
Coffee can give the hair a quick boost making it rich dark brown and shiny. Coffee is a natural dye just like henna.
Brew a cup of dark coffee and let it cool. Add 2 spoons of coffee grounds and 1/3 cup conditioner and mix well. Apply this mixture to damp hair and wash it off thoroughly after 1 hour.
[Also Read: 4-Step Coffee Facial For Younger Looking Skin]
7. Black Tea
Black tea contains tannic acid which aids in darkening the hair. Black tea rinse also makes the hair shiny and bouncy.
Make a cup of plain black tea and let it cool down. Take one teaspoon of iodised table salt and mix it with the tea. Wash your hair with this black tea and wash it off again with plain water after 40 minutes.
Ridge gourd which is also known as Torai is helpful in retaining the pigment in hair and reversing premature greying. It also strengthens the hair roots.
Cut the ridge gourd into tiny pieces and let it soak in coconut oil for two to three days. Next, boil the oil till it turns dark. Let it cool and massage a little bit of this oil well into the scalp and roots. Wash it off with mild shampoo.
Shikakai is another Ayurvedic herb for treating hair related problems. Shikakai naturally cleanses the hair. It also prevents premature greying and boosts hair growth.
Mix shikakai powder with yoghurt and henna to make a paste. Leave it on the hair and rinse after an hour. For added benefits, you can use shikakai boiled water for rinsing your hair.
Amarnath has lysine, zinc and iron which benefits the hair. It prevents premature greying, strengthens the hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
Make a paste by grinding fresh Amarnath leaves and apply on the clean, damp scalp as a paste. Wash it off after 30 minutes. Amarnath paste or powder can also be infused into oils to make Amarnath oil.
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