As we age, our hair turns to grey or white. While this is a normal, natural process, many people are looking for solutions that stop or reverse greying hair. Instead of turning to harsh chemicals to dye your hair, there are some lifestyle changes you can try that might stop your hair from losing its colour.
First, it’s important to know why your hair turns to grey at all. Hair gets its colour from the chemical melanin, which is produced by cells called melanocytes found in hair follicles. Through the natural ageing process, melanocyte activity decreases until they stop producing pigment all together. The new hairs that grow in after the melanin production stops appear grey or white, as they do not contain pigment anymore.
There are several natural options that many claim can stop grey hair in its tracks. These include barley grass, black seed oil, black tea, coconut oil, curry leaves, and onion juice. While there is no scientific evidence to prove that these remedies are efficacious, many people still claim that they work, and can not only stop the greying but can also return your hair to its normal colour.
In traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, if you have premature graying in your hair it can be a sign of another medical issue. Some claim that hair color is a reflection of blood purity and kidney strength. Therefore, improving your blood and kidneys can keep your hair looking colourful and youthful. Natural TCM treatments for blood and kidneys include chlorophyll, Hijiki, blackstrap molasses, black sesame seeds, nettles, and wheatgrass. Consuming meat, dairy, and salt can harm the blood and kidneys, so limiting your intake of these things will help as well.
Practitioners of TCM have also recommended the herb Fo-Ti, but this can have significant negative side effects.
Ayurveda is a type of alternative medicine from India, and this school of thought claims grey hair can be traced to a lack of balance in the pitta or vata dosha. Treatments for this include bhringaraj oil and amla oil.
Genetics largely determine when your hair will start to go grey, but there are other factors that can speed up the process. Thyroid disorders like Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, and hyper- and hypothyroidism, as well as vitiligo and menopause, can cause your hair to go grey sooner than it would naturally.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia can be caused by a diet scarce in meat, eggs, and dairy (all contain vitamin B12) or from the stomach failing to absorb B12. The latter can be caused by complications during stomach or small intestine surgery, or from diseases of the small intestine such as Crohn’s or celiac disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia has been shown to cause grey hair.
Smoking cigarettes cause many other health problems, but one that isn’t often talked about might be grey hair. There are many benefits to quitting smoking, and colourful, healthy hair is one. Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult for many people, but alternative therapies like acupuncture or hypnosis might help.
Obesity might be a cause of prematurely gray hair, according to a study from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, published in 2015. There are many natural approaches to cure obesity and many of the best weight management strategies do not involve medicine at all, but rather lifestyle changes that lead to an overall healthier being.
Oxidative stress could cause melanocytes to breakdown, thus leading to grey hair. To prevent losing colour be sure to eat a diet that is high in antioxidants, though it has not been shown to actually reverse the greying of hair if it has already begun.
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