One of the most vexing outcomes of modern lifestyle is white hair. Nothing matches the dread you feel at the appearance of your first white strand. You know that there will be more to follow, and you look for remedies and treatments that might stop the inevitable. And here, we are talking about premature graying.
The occurrence of white hair with old age is obvious. But, when you notice them in your early 30s and sometimes, even 20s, it’s absolutely disheartening. Both gray and white hair are the result of your hair losing its pigment. When there is a significant reduction in the pigment, the hair turns gray. When there is absolutely no pigment present, it turns white. But, the exact causes of gray and white hair are still inconclusive.
What Causes White Hair
Hair growth happens when old cells are pushed out by the hair follicles due to the production of new cells. It occurs in three stages – growth (anagen), cessation (catagen), and rest (telogen). During the rest period, your hair reaches its lifespan and falls out, and a new strand grows in its place. When your hair grows, it is injected with pigments that give it color. With age, the amount of pigment that is injected into each strand of hair gets reduced, which is why it turns gray, and eventually white.
There are several factors governing the reasons why your hair loses its pigment. Contrary to popular belief, white hair is not a result of stress. At least, it is not in any way directly responsible.
The occurrence of white hair is determined by the following factors.
It is the predominant factor in determining at what age your hair loses pigment. For some people, it can happen even before they turn 20. For others, the first strands of white appear rather late (1).
2. Deficiency Of Melanin
In most of the cases, a deficiency of melanin is the major cause behind hair whitening. The production of melanin depends upon appropriate nutrition and protein supplements. Lack of these nutrients causes melanin to fall below the acceptable levels.
Your hormones have a huge impact on the pigmentation of your hair. An imbalance can cause your hair to turn white (2).
4. Medical Conditions
Certain underlying medical conditions can trigger a loss of pigment in your hair. They include a deficiency of vitamin B12 or problems with the thyroid and pituitary glands (3).
Stress caused by hectic schedules is a major cause of premature graying, along with excessive intake of alcohol and junk food.
6. Chemical Hair Products
Sometimes, usage of chemical-based shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, etc. may directly cause this problem. However, it can result from some allergic infections as well.
7. Extrinsic Factors
Changes to your hair color can occur due to external factors such as the climate, pollution, and exposure to certain chemicals. These factors speed up the process of aging (4).
There has been a recent breakthrough regarding the loss of pigment in hair. It was discovered that hair follicles release a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, which gets accumulated over time. It bleaches the hair and causes it to turn gray, and eventually white. By removing this accumulation, it is possible for your hair to regain its natural color (5).
Tips To Reduce White Hair
- Increase Intake Of Vitamin B12
- Keep Thyroid Levels In Check
- Quit Smoking
- Load Up On Antioxidants
- Curry Leaves
- Indian Gooseberry
- Carrot Seed Oil And Sesame Oil
- Black Tea
- Sage Leaves
- Ridge Gourd
- Fenugreek Seeds
- Sesame Oil And Almond Oil
1. Increase Intake Of Vitamin B12
Your hair could be turning white due to a deficiency of vitamin B12. But it is a reversible condition, and consuming sufficient amounts of it can reinfuse your hair with pigment.
Why Is It Helpful
Vitamin B12 deficiency causes a condition known as pernicious anemia, and your hair losing its pigment is a symptom of that (6). This condition can be reversed by partaking sufficient amounts of the vitamin.
What You Can Do
Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient for your body. You should make sure that you meet your daily requirement. Some foods that are rich in it are seafood and meat, including pork, beef, and lamb (7). Dairy products such as milk and cheese and eggs are good sources as well. Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet can opt for supplementation or products that are enriched with vitamin B12.
2. Keep Thyroid Levels In Check
Your thyroid gland has an impact on all the vital functions of your body. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can result in premature white hair (8). It is necessary to monitor your thyroid levels to be aware if it is causing the loss of pigment in your hair (9).
What You Can Do
Hypothyroidism is a serious chronic condition, and might require hormone supplementation. Certain foods can interfere with the working of your thyroid gland. To keep your thyroid levels in check, keep tabs on your diet.
3. Quit Smoking
Your lifestyle has a lot of influence on the health and color of your hair. Smoking has adverse effects on your body, and could be contributing to white hair.
Why Is It Helpful
A study conducted determined that smokers have a higher chance of their hair losing pigment than non-smokers (10).
4. Load Up On Antioxidants
Your diet may help prevent the occurrence of white hair. Just make sure that you consume enough antioxidant-rich food.
Why Is It Helpful
Loss of pigmentation can be accelerated due to oxidative stress (11). Oxidation, which is a natural process, produces free radicals, and the amount produced increases as one ages. This imbalance causes hair to lose its pigment and turn white.
What You Can Do
Antioxidants can help in fighting white hair. Make sure that you incorporate foods such as berries, grapes, green leafy vegetables, and green tea into your diet (12).
When it comes to your hair turning white, preventive measures don’t always work. This is due to the gradual loss of pigment in your hair. It is dependent on your genes, which means there might not be a way to reverse it. But it can be camouflaged with the use of colorants.
A lot of the colorants use chemicals and harmful dyes. It is a well-known fact that henna works effectively for hair problems in multiple ways. It is completely natural and can impart an auburn hue to your hair without causing any harm. Adding coffee grounds can make the hue browner.
What You Need
- 5 tablespoons henna powder
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 1 cup water
What You Have To Do
- Bring the water to boil, and add the instant coffee to it.
- Place the henna powder in a bowl, and slowly add the coffee to it. Stir constantly to avoid lumps.
- Apply the mixture to your hair and keep it on for three to four hours.
- Rinse with warm water and a mild shampoo.
- Mix henna powder with yogurt, fenugreek, basil, and mint juice to make a smooth paste. Apply this on your hair and leave it on for two to three hours. Rinse with warm water.
- You can also prepare a mixture of henna powder with one teaspoon each of curd, coffee, lemon, catechu, gooseberry powder, vinegar, and dried mint powder. After applying this mixture, leave it on for at least one hour before washing away.