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  5. White Hair: What, Why & How To Reverse Premature Greying

Are you surprised to see white or grey hair on your scalp way sooner than you expected? If you’re one of those youngsters who is trying to reverse premature greying of hair through various tricks, this article is for you.

Greying is a sign of your natural aging process. Your skin has millions of hair follicles that contain a pigment called melanin. As you age, hair follicles lose this pigment turning your hair colour grey. Scroll down to find out what causes premature greying and how you can deal with it.

What Causes White Hair?

1. Genetics

According to studies, premature greying is related to genetics [1]. It is likely that you will have grey hair at an early age if your father or grandfather had premature grey hair. It is also related to geography according to a study performed in 2013. People in a certain country can have gray hair much earlier than people in another country.

2. Stress

Stress can lead to a flood of problems like anxiety, high blood pressure, sleeping issues, skin disorders and so on. Adding to this list is premature greying of hair. Yes, stress can turn your hair grey [2]. A study done in 2013 observed a link between stress and depletion of stem cells in the hair follicles of mice.

3. Diet

An imbalanced diet can speed up greying of hair. Processed foods, cold drinks, excess intake of salt and sugar increase the risk of free radical generation in the body that can cause grey hair.

4. Vitamin Deficiency

Yes, lack of vitamins like vitamin B, D, E, biotin can lead to premature greying of hair [3]. Vitamin deficiencies can affect pigmentation, but can be reversed using vitamin supplements. Talk to your doctor if you want to incorporate supplements in your diet.

5. Pollution/Weather Conditions

Pollutants in the air generate free radicals and oxidative stress. This can in turn cause damage to the melanin cells, speeding up hair greying [4].

6. Chemical Hair Products

Hair care products like shampoos and conditioners can lead to premature greying of hair, due to the presence of chemicals which decrease your melanin content. Hair dyes containing hydrogen peroxide and bleaching agents can leave the hair white when used for prolonged periods.

7. Smoking

Smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease, but also puts your hair at risk. Smoking constricts blood vessels, reduces blood flow to hair follicles and leads to hair loss. The toxins in cigarette smoke can affect hair follicles causing grey hair earlier than expected [5].

How To Stop White Hair?

1. Medicated/Doctor Prescribed Products

Treatments start with the determination of the type of greying (natural or premature) and the underlying causes. Your doctor may give shampoos, conditioners, oils, serums and hair masks suited to your hair type. You may also be given nutrition supplements.

2. Cosmetic Shampoos

Cosmetic shampoos contain certain ingredients that can impart a color to your grey locks. Besides offering color, these shampoos can reform the texture of your hair.

3. Essential Oils

Essentials oil helps produce and maintain melanin to the maximum levels. Rosemary, sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, fenugreek, argan and amla essential oils are some of the many available in the market.

4. Food Sources

Antioxidant rich foods can address oxidative stress and grey hair. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are atoms or molecules that have unpaired electrons. While they are hunting for an electron, they cause damage to your body.

Free radicals form in the body due to factors like sunlight, smoking, pollution and aging. Load up on antioxidant foods like berries, green tea, broccoli, olive oil and fish to reverse premature greying of hair [6]. Vitamin rich foods and vitamin supplements should also be your go to.

5. Alternatives/Remedies

Natural ingredients can be used to slow down greying of hair without causing any side effects. Following is the list of such safe and natural remedies:

  • Curry leaves
  • Gooseberry or amla
  • Black tea
  • Bhringaraj

How To Prevent White Hair?

1. Quit Smoking

Smokers can have a greater chance of pigment loss when compared to non-smokers.

2. Turn To Antioxidants

Incorporate a lot of antioxidant rich foods in your diet. These prevent oxidative stress [7] and grey hair.

3. Protect Your Hair From The Sun

The harmful UV rays from the sun can cause oxidative stress in the body and premature greying of hair. Protect your hair with a hat or scarf while you are outdoors.

4. Avoid Stress

Practise meditation and yoga to keep your mind free of the daily stress.

Why Plucking Grey Hair Is A Bad Idea?

It is widely believed that if you pluck a strand of grey hair, more will grow back. This is untrue. Only one strand of hair can grow from one single hair follicle.

Nevertheless, don't be tempted to pluck your grey hair. You are going to make the hair follicles weak and there are chances that regular plucking will eventually dismiss hair growth at a certain hair follicle. You don't want your hair volume to go down, do you?

Can White Hair Turn Black Again?

Genetic or age related greying of hair cannot be reversed. However, greying related to diet, pollution, bleaching and stress can be slowed down with a balanced diet and a good hair care regimen. Know your hair to figure out hair care that suits your hair.

How To Determine If Your Greying Is Premature Or Natural?

Greying of hair starts when you are in your late 40s and early 50s. Premature greying of hair can start as early as in 20s. According to research, premature greying of hair is related to ethnicity too, besides genetics [8].

Wrapping Up

Religious hair care and a balanced diet can slow down and possibly reverse grey hair. Talk to your doctor about treatments, cosmetic shampoos and other products if you want to ban grey hair without a dye.

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