Imagine one white sheep among hoards of black ones and chances are that you would immediately think of your 100 grey strands among a million black ones. Hair that prematurely turns grey is an embarrassment for many and a nagging problem for the youth of today.
Although with age, hair tends to turn grey, but graying at an early age that is, prematurely, is totally demotivating and discomforting causing a young person to look much older than he/she actually is.
But what actually is the reason for our hair turning grey? “Well, there is no one reason”, says, Dr Anjali Dange, dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon, “it’s a culmination of various factors that lead to graying of hair among youngsters between 20 and 35 years and among children who are as young as seven years”. “In fact”, quips Dr Dange, “one in every five adults in their 20’s suffer from grey hair”.
A grey hair strand means that the cells in hair follicles cease to produce the pigment that gives hair its color. “And once the production of grey hair in hair follicles starts, there is no way it can go back to produce the natural hair colour” says Dr Dange
So what exactly causes our hair to turn grey?
The reasons for hair turning grey range from hereditary or genetic factors, wherein grey hair are passed down to the next generation to an unhealthy and incomplete diet that lacks essential nutrients like copper, iodine, iron, vitamin B12. Stress and anxiety also contribute significantly towards premature graying of hair.
Besides, other important causes are:
- Chronic cold
- Not washing hair regularly thereby inviting dandruff
- Using electric dryers and concentrated hair dyes
- Chronic constipation, anemia, and thyroid problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Illness and infectious diseases
- Chemotherapy and radiation
Hair also tends to turn grey due to constant exposure to the sun or wind, as it can lead to hair follicles turning weak and brittle, thereby reducing their pigment producing capacity.
"However", says, Dr Dange, “there is no sure shot treatment by which you can get rid of grey hair totally. Once the pigment is lost, it cannot come back. Thus the only alternative we now have is to hide our silver locks by colouring them with dyes or henna (mehendi)”. Hence, now the challenge lies in how you maintain the lusciousness of your hair, despite the use of chemicals present in the dyes.
The same opinion is shared by ayurvedic practitioner, Vrushali Kalap when she says, “in ayurveda too, there is no way to prevent or cure premature graying of hair, as it happens due to pitta dosha, however, we can control the frequency with which our hair turns grey.” She recommends breaking Vitamin E tablets and mixing the powder in coconut oil and then applying it on the scalp as a treatment against grey hair.
However, certain home remedies that prevent greying of hair need to be followed in order to control the frequency with which our hair turns grey:
- Do not constantly keep changing shampoos.
- Apply oil at least twice a week. This will nourish your hair follicles and will make them stronger.
- Limit your intake of coffee, alcohol, fried and oily foods as these can play havoc with the nourishment of hair and its moisture content resulting in premature greying.
- Gooseberry (Amla) can promote hair growth and can bring natural darkness to your hair. Dried amla pieces, should be boiled in coconut oil till the solid matter becomes like charred dust. This darkish oil is very useful against premature greying.