Looking for a way to prevent premature hair greying? Melanin could hold the solution. Hair greying is a natural process that all of us go through as we age. But due to certain reasons, premature hair greying can occur as well.
While you can go for a hair dye to hide the grey hair, there are nature-based solutions to this problem too. Since melanin is the reason behind hair pigmentation, boosting its production, can help tackle the issue of hair greying. Read on to know how to increase melanin in the hair and tackle premature greying with natural ways!
What Is Melanin & What Does It Do To Your Hair?
Melanin comprises a large group of interrelated molecules that are responsible for the biological functions of many organisms.  In the human body, it controls the pigmentation of skin, hair and eyes. There are three types of melanin found in our body. These are eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin.
Eumelanin is responsible for dark pigmentation like black and dark brown, while pheomelanin gives a lighter pigmentation which includes lips (pink/red tone), red hair etc. Neuromelanin has even darker pigmentation. Usually, neuromelanin is not present since birth, and develops through the lifetime.
Melanin controls the colour of your hair. The shade of your hair colour depends on the type(s) of melanin you have in your hair and its quantity. If you have black hair, it is evident that your hair consists of a large amount of eumelanin.
An average amount of eumelanin will make your hair brown in colour. If you have blond hair, then it means that you have a very less amount of eumelanin. Red hair or pinkish blond happens when your hair has a significant amount of pheomelanin and a little bit of eumelanin.
Melanin also plays the role of a protector for your hair. It protects you from harmful UV rays. The darker your hair shade, the more protection you get from sun damage.
What Causes Loss Of Melanin In Your Hair?
Your hair colour does not stay the same forever. It changes throughout your lifetime. From a child to a teenager, your hair colour will get darker. But eventually, the melanin production slows down when you start ageing. Reports  suggest that most humans start getting grey hair near the age of 50.
Genetics play a major role in the melanin production of your body. Many people get premature grey hair as a family inheritance. You may have also noticed that some tribes have extreme black coarse hair. It happens because of their genetic inheritance. 
3. Sun Damage
While sunlight is extremely important for our body, an extreme level of sun exposure can damage your hair’s melanin production. UV rays can strip off the natural shade, destroying the melanin of your hair. Your hair becomes lighter in colour.
Stress is never good for the body. Chronic stress can cause a lot of health issues which also includes premature hair greying. If you are having sleepless nights, anxiety, loss of appetite and experiencing high blood pressure, then you may be going through heavy stress. A study  suggests that there is a connection between stress and stem cells in hair follicles.
5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The red blood cells in your body carry oxygen to your other body cells including the cells of your hair. These red blood cells need vitamin B12 to sustain. If you lack vitamin B12, your hair growth will stop and hair colour will fade away. 
The habit of smoking can cause early grey hair. Smoking creates a congestion in your blood vessels and restricts the blood flow to your hair follicles. It can lead to various hair problems such as hair fall and of course premature hair greying. Research data established that smoking has a significant connection with melanin loss in your hair and premature hair greying. 
7. Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease can also lead to loss of melanin in your hair. In an autoimmune disease, your own immune system starts attacking your healthy cells. Alopecia and vitiligo are such diseases where your immune system starts attacking your hair cells and impairs melanin production.
8. Usage of Chemical Products
Many regularly-used hair care products contain harmful chemical-based ingredients like paraben, sulfate, silicon etc. These products may look fancy but destroy your hair’s health. These can eventually cause untimely hair greying.
How To Increase Melanin In Your Hair?
Melanin deficiency is associated with vitamin deficiency. That’s why you need to increase your vitamin intake through your food or vitamin supplements. Vitamin A, C and B12 are the most needed vitamins to increase the melanin production in your hair. Add citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, pineapple, and melon to your diet. Also eat vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans, etc. Non vegetarians can try adding red meat, chicken liver, fish, and eggs to their diet.
Just like vitamins, minerals are equally important. If you are going through premature hair greying, you need to check on your iron and copper intake. Both the minerals have proven to be effective in increasing melanin in your hair. Dark green vegetables, almonds, peanuts, dark chocolates and lentils are rich sources of iron and minerals.
Antioxidants work in protecting your body cells and defending them against the effects of free radicals. It also increases the melanin production in your hair. Dark chocolate, beans, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, carrot, and pumpkin can add antioxidants to your diet.
Biotin is another water-soluble vitamin that helps in hair growth and maintains its health. Biotin deficiency is often associated with premature hair greying. Hence, adding sufficient biotin to your diet or taking biotin supplements can increase melanin production.
5. Natural Remedies
Apart from an improvement in your diet, you can also increase melanin production, by using a few natural ingredients. Bhringraj, Triphala, Vibhitaka etc. are known for their properties in preventing premature greying. Apply the mentioned ingredients on your scalp and watch your hair healing from the condition of premature greying.
6. Melanin-Rich Ingredients
There is a wide range of hair care products available in the market that promise to stop premature grey hair. But not every product will work for you. Look for products that suit your hair type and also have melanin-rich ingredients in them. These ingredients include lutein, probiotics, astaxanthin etc.
Premature grey hair is a widely acknowledged problem. Many have been researching and analysing the causes and solutions for this rapidly increasing issue. Since melanin loss is the key reason, the only way to get rid of premature grey hair is by increasing melanin production.
You can boost melanin production through your regular food intake, using natural ingredients on your hair or adding up supplements. Please note that before taking any supplement consult with a doctor. Also, if you have excessive grey hair at a very early age, get yourself checked for underlying diseases.
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