Grey hair is a familiar sign of ageing. The age when greying starts depends on your genetic inheritance, but around 50 per cent of Caucasians find that half their hair has turned grey by the age of 50.
Loss of hair colour is due to a gradual decline in the production of a pigment, melanin, in the hair bulb. White hair has no pigment, and gray hair has some but not as much as a red, black or brown hair. Not all hairs respond in the same way or at the same time. So the graying process usually is gradual. You can’t prevent graying. If you look at individual hairs on a greying head you will see a full colour range, from the original shade to white – all along each hair. and from one hair to another. The first grey hairs usually appears near the temples. Then the greyness spreads to the crown, and later to the back of the head.
Apparent rapid greying may be due to the selective shedding of pigmented hair in a person who already has some grey hairs, which are retained. This kind of shedding usually takes several months. But it can occur in a few days, when the effects are dramatic, since the person’s grey hairs would not have been so obvious until the darker hairs were lost. Loss of hair colour before the age of 35 is termed premature greying.
Excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meat, and fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour, and acidic foods can reduce the moisture and nutrients reaching the hair follicles and may lead to premature greying.
- A drop in melanin production may be caused by a lack of the mineral copper. Eat foods such as crab, oysters, sunflower seeds, cashews and almonds, which have significant amounts of copper.
- To obtain better results, iron & iodine should be taken in form of sea food. Besides fish, which is the main source of iodine, the requirement of this mineral can be met by adequate intake of carrots, bananas & similar other vegetables & fruits. Carrots are especially useful in furnishing fresh blood & maintaining the health of the hair.
- All three of these vitamins, belonging to B group, should be supplied at one time preferably in a form which gives all B vitamins, such as yeast, wheat germ & liver. The three anti-grey hair vitamins can be produced in the intestinal track by bacteria. Thus drinking a litre of yoghurt daily with a tablespoon of yeast before each meal will be an excellent remedy for the prevention & the treatment of premature greying of hair. If one wishes to take tablets of calcium pantothenate & paba, they should be taken in addition to the yeast & yoghurt & not as a substitute for them.
- Avoid foods loaded with artificial colours and preservatives, as these put a strain on your digestive system and can lead to dry, brittle hair and a dehydrated scalp. Too many carbohydrates, such a pasta and bread, can diminish levels of antioxidants in your body that are needed to neutralize free radicals.
- Instead of reaching for a packet of hair dye, try some natural applications. Sage or tea will temporarily coat the hair shaft, hiding the grey. Grey hair tends to be coarse and wiry, owing to a lack of moisture. Apply a hair mask once a week. Olive oil, avocado or banana are excellent nourishing masks.
- Hair cannot really turn white “overnight” – this is an urban myth. Hairs grow with the pigment already inside them. As hair is dead there is no process by which the melanin throughout a hair can be destroyed rapidly by natural causes, rather than chemicals (although it may be bleached by sunlight over many years).
Daily Eating Plan for Grey Hair
The rapid greying that occurs when pigmented hair falls out to reveal underlying grey hairs can be delayed by keeping your hair as healthy as possible. If you are going prematurely grey, drink plenty of water and fruit and vegetable juices. Fresh juice is full of antioxidants that help detoxify the body and protect the pigmented hairs that remain, and so delay the onset of premature greying.
Porridge with prunes and apricots, strawberry starter smoothie
Chicken salad with soy dressing with a wide variety of vegetables
Vegetable and bean soup with wholemeal pita bread
Fresh fruit salad and natural yoghurt
Certain home remedies have been found useful in the prevention & treatment of premature greying of hair.
- The foremost among these is the use of Indian Gooseberries or amla which is valuable hair tonic for enriching hair growth & hair pigmentation. The fruit cut into pieces should be dried, preferably in shade. These pieces should be boiled in coconut oil till the solid matter becomes like charred dust. The darkish oil is very useful in preventing greying.
- The water in which dried amla pieces are soaked overnight is also nourishing to the hair. This water should be used for the last rinse while washing the hair. Massaging the scalp with a teaspoon of amla juice mixed with a teaspoon of almond oil or few drops of lime juice, every night has proved beneficial.
- When curry leaves are boiled in coconut oil, the oil forms an excellent hair tonic to stimulate hair growth & bring back hair pigmentation.
- The butter made from cow’s milk has the property to prevent premature greying of hair. This can be massaged into the hair roots twice a week.
- Ribbed gourd or torai, boiled in coconut oil is another effective remedy to prevent premature greying of hair.
Pieces of this vegetables should be dried in the shade.
These dried pieces should be soaked in coconut oil & kept aside for 3-4 days. The oil should be boiled till the solid is reduced to the blackened residue. This oil should be massaged into the scalp. It will help enrich the hair roots & restore pigment to the hair.