People usually associate gray hair with aging. Most people have the mentality that only gray hair should be seen on old people. Even though this is true, gray hair can also be spotted on people who are young; perhaps in their early twenties. The reasons for premature graying of hair are numerous. However, experts believe that graying of hair is caused by naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide on the hair. When it builds up in the hair, it eventually causes discoloration. Another reason could be when hair cells that give hair its natural pigment, die off
It is estimated that white people start graying in their mid-thirties while Asians in their late thirties. African Americans on the other hand begin to see gray hair in their mid-40s. Generally, most people begin to see gray hair by the time they turn 50. Any African American who starts experiencing gray hair in their twenties is said to be prematurely graying. The same concept applies to all the other races.
Causes of Gray Hair
At some point in our life we all must experience the growth of gray hair. There are no proven ways of completely avoiding gray hair as some of the preventive strategies may suggest. Some people might experience gray hair earlier than others. The reason for this varies across all ages even though the root causes are usually a poor diet and bad lifestyle habits. The following are some of the reasons why people experience gray hair;
- The first reason is aging. When we age, our skins stop producing an adequate amount of melanin. When pigmentation reduces at the scalp, we are most likely to see gray hair emerging. The hair follicles stop producing melanin as well as we age.
- Unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking are key factors that contribute to graying of hair. In fact it increases the chances of premature graying. Smoking causes our bodies to age at a much faster rate which in turn causes our hair to turn gray much quicker.
- A poor diet is known to be the underlying cause of premature graying especially in young children. A diet that lacks vitamin B-12 is likely to lead to premature graying. The good thing is that if it is only the diet that lacks the essential nutrients that promote hair pigmentation, then the condition can be reversed by taking the correct amount of the essential nutrients.
- Some autoimmune genetic conditions also contribute to the premature graying of hair. These include vitiligo, alopecia and Werner syndrome. These conditions are known to cause the colored hair to fall off and promote the growth of gray hair.
- Medical research has shown that there is a relationship between graying of hair and bone density.
- Genetics also determine if one will gray early. Those people whose parents had gray hair prematurely are likely to have gray hair prematurely also.
- Even though it is still under debate, most experts link stress to graying of hair.
- One’s ethnicity also contributes to premature graying. As was mentioned earlier, people who are of African American origin are likely to develop gray hairs much later than people who are of Asian or white origin.
- The use of harsh coloring agents frequently may lead to the graying of hair because the harsh chemicals may kill the cells that produce pigment for your hair.
Symptoms of Gray Hair
The following are some of the symptoms of graying hair:
- A reduced level of melanin in the skin
- Hair losing its original color
Gray Hair Home Remedies
Many people have come up with home remedies for graying hair over the past few centuries. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies and herbal remedies that you can try.
- Vitamins– Including vitamins in your diet will help to ensure that you do not get gray hair prematurely. In addition, they help to improve the overall health of your hair. Minerals such as selenium and copper have been linked to preventing hair from graying. Other essential additions that should be in your diet and prevent graying of hair include biotin and folic acid.
- Indian Goose Berries– Indian goose berries are also useful in preventing gray hair. They can be bought at any Indian store that is near you. They have been used by Indians for several years as natural remedies for a variety of diseases. It is being studied today for its possible use in modern medicine. The fruit should be soaked in water overnight. Drain the water into another bowl and sauté the berries with coconut oil. Drain the coconut oil into another bowl and apply the berry paste on the hair and rinse off with the coconut oil and water. This should be repeated until any visible results can be seen. The procedure should then be repeated less often until it is done only once a week for maintenance. It is however advised that one seek medical advice first before using this treatment because it has yet to be approved by FDA.
- Curry Leaves– Another traditional Indian medicine that has been used to treat gray hair is curry leaves. They can be directly applied to hair and consumed as well. Like Indian gooseberry, its effect on hair has yet to be proven or approved by the FDA therefore before using it, you should seek medical advice.
- Henna– Another remedy for graying hair is to color the hair with natural ingredients. Henna is a kind of Indian herb that is used to dye hair. It comes in a variety of colors and is made from the henna plant. Powdered henna can be bought at your local store. It does not contain any chemicals that might damage the hair. Instructions on how to use it can be found on the product. This might not be an immediate remedy but can help to mask the gray hair.
- Try This- Vegetable oils always top the charts when it comes down to nutritional value. These essential oils are known to be quite useful in both hair and skin care, and are filled with loads of nutrients that help in the quest for holistic health. The likes of mustard seed, coconut, sweet almond oil as well as a winding list of naturally occurring agents, all combine to reverse the effects of graying hair, and give you that breathtaking full head of hair. This blend of essential oils can be use individually in their purest essence, or they can be mixed to provide a more potent herbal remedy for gray hair.
- Polygonum multiflorium- The Polygonum multiflorium is also a very effective herbal remedy for gray hair. This ancient Chinese herb is known to restore your natural hair color by strengthening the blood supply to the scalp, and resulting in an overall improvement in health. Otherwise known as the Fo-Ti, this ancient Chinese herb is also known to improve kidney function.
- Try These– Other herbal ingredients known to promote healthy scalp activity, resulting in the restoration of natural hair color include Asian gingseng, ginkgo biloba, green tea, rosemary, chamomile and gotukola. These herbal remedies provide additional nutrition to your hair follicles, which then trickles down to a reduction of graying, as well as a reverse in balding.
- Sage- Sage, another quality herbal extract, has been used to add color to hair, acting as a naturally occurring hair food and colorant. This top class herbal remedy has many quality characteristics that make it one of the most sought after medicinal herb. It promotes holistic health, and has the resultant effect of stronger, well nourished hair follicles.
Diet for Gray Hair
Genetics may play a major role in the graying of hair but those are some of the factors that we cannot control. When it comes to our diet however, we can choose what we eat. To prevent the graying of hair, our bodies require a variety of nutrients. Without these nutrients, then the hair would not grow and would become gray at an early age.The following are some of the diet recommendations for graying hair:
- Consuming foods that are rich in vitamin B12 go a long way into ensuring that our hair is healthy and also prevents it from graying early. Protein foods such as eggs and meat are usually rich in B12. Plant foods have not been known to contain vitamin B12. In addition, foods that are rich in biotin are known to contribute to healthy hair and can be found in foods such as cauliflower and lima beans among other kinds of foods.
- Foods that are rich in proteins should also be included in our diets. These foods are believed to be the building blocks for healthy hair follicles. These foods not only promote the growth of hair but also prevent graying of hair.
- Foods that are rich in copper are essential or maintaining the density of our bones. It has also been linked to the production of melanin which is behind the formation of pigment in our hair. Care should be taken however not to consume the mineral in excessive amounts which can be poisonous to our bodies. Sources of copper include oysters, crabs, most seeds and nuts and almonds.
- Lack of folic acid in our diets has been proven to contribute to the graying of hair. Folic acid can be taken in supplements or gotten from natural sources such as legumes, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and liver.
Prevention of Gray Hair
Most people call gray hair the “crown of splendor”. However, not everyone is ready to wear this crown. There are ways that have proven efficient enough to prolong the appearance of gray hair but do not stop the growth of gray hair completely. Gray hair can be prevented by the following ways:
- Dropping habits such as smoking which contributes negatively to the health of your hair. Smoking accelerates the rate at which your body ages thereby increasing your chances of getting gray hair early.
- Even though it is still under debate, stress has been directly associated with graying of hair. It is therefore important to try and engage in activities that will reduce your level of stress.
- Ensure that your diet contains folic acids, copper and vitamin B12. These minerals and nutrients are believed to contribute to hair growth as well as maintain its natural color.
- Some herbs are believed to prevent the graying of hair such as Chinese herbs. These however should only be used once you have consulted a doctor about it since some of these herbs are not approved by FDA.
- Avoid using chemicals to repeatedly color your hair. These chemicals are believed to kill the cells that are responsible for hair pigment. If you have to color your hair use products that do not contain harsh chemicals or only contain natural ingredients.
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