This is something that can strike you as shattering, because the hair you wear defines your look to a very great extent. While jazzy terms like silver and salt-and-pepper may temper the despair to some extent, premature graying hair can be disappointing and downright unacceptable, especially if you’re starting t show grey strands in your twenties or early thirties already! Relax! graying hair can be reversed in various ways, once you can zero in on the cause of your problem.
Typically, it is said that Caucasians start graying in their mid thirties, Asians in their late thirties and African-Americans in their late forties. So anything prior to this can be considered as premature graying of hair.
Why is graying hair associated with age?
The reason early graying hair is depressing is that graying is typically associated with growing old. Every hair strand is surrounded by a tube of hair tissue (called the hair follicle) at its root, under the scalp. The hair follicle contains pigment cells that produce a chemical called melanin that gives color to your hair. With age, these pigment cells begin to die and don’t produce as much melanin, resulting in graying hair. That is how grey hair becomes typically associated with age. But remember, if you’re showing signs of premature graying, it doesn’t mean you are turning old- you are as young as your heart is! Here are some of the causes of premature graying.
Graying hair causes
Early graying of hair can be a result of medical conditions or lifestyle factors. Sometimes, naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide can build up in your hair, causing hair to lose color. However, whereas popular belief has long linked graying hair and stress, stress is not shown to cause grey hair. Genetic and hereditary factors also often play a major role.
Some medical conditions that can trigger premature graying hair:
- Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 has been linked to premature graying of hair.
- Melanin production can also be adversely affected by a malfunctioning thyroid gland.
- Vitiligo, a disease in which the pigment producing cells in the skin and/or hair are damaged can result in early graying.
Rather than fretting over gray hair, it might be a good idea to get yourself checked for any such medical conditions. This will help you to take appropriate steps for reversing the process.
Various lifestyle choices are thought to be associated with graying prematurely. Smoking, faulty diet and nutritional deficiency are some among them. Also excessive use of electric hair dryers and hair irons can be the culprit behind prematurely graying hair.
Managing graying hair
One option is to use semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color that goes away in a few weeks- if you have nice natural hair color save the white patches, you can ask your hair colorist to just use hair highlights to blend in the gray with the rest of your hair. You may also go in for permanent color- in general, when you’ve just started graying, consider semi-permanent color and opt for permanent color only once you’re 45 to 50% “distinguished”.
If you’re not keen on using hair dye, you can use products such as spray-on airbrush hair makeup, which can be used as a coloring tool that comes off with a shampoo.
A modern haircut
Get a modern chic haircut that makes you look smart and defined- smooth bangs, nice fringes or a graduated bob.
Graying hair care
Gray hair tends to get frizzy. So you need to take extra care- use a shampoo with a blue base and a conditioning hair mask once a month to keep your hair well nourished. Using flat iron helps calm the frizz and adds shine and luster to your hair.
Natural graying hair solutions
Amla (Indian gooseberry), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) and curry leaves also make good natural gray hair solutions. If you don’t want to go chemical, include curry leaves as part of your diet or boil some in coconut oil and apply the cooled oil to your scalp. Drinking amla juice or applying a mix of coconut oil and amla (cut and dried) to our hair also prevents graying. Ashwagandha is known to increase melanin content in hair follicles.