Gray Hair: What Causes It And How Can You Prevent It?

April 8, 2022 • By Camila Thomas
The estimated reading time is 11 minutes
grey hair prevention

Whether you like it or not, it's normal for your hair color to turn gray as you age.

Of course, there are many people who embrace and love their natural gray hair. Moreover, many young women are big fans of the 'granny' hair trend and dye their hair gray on purpose.

And if you're like me, you're not fond of gray hair. Even a few gray strands can annoy you. You think having gray hair makes you look old and unattractive.

Well, whether you're someone who flaunts their gray strands or someone who is bothered even by a couple of them, there's one fact that no one can deny: Going gray is inevitable.

What Causes Hair To Whiten?

We have thousands of hair follicles in the skin's epidermis on our heads. A hair follicle is a structure that regulates the growth of the hair, and as it ages, it produces less color as it loses pigment cells.

Although your genes determine when you start graying to a certain extent, you're more likely to go gray after you turn 30.

What Determines When Your Hair Begins To Turn White

  • Genetics

Some people can go gray before turning 20, whereas others can spot the first gray strands later.

  • Melanin Deficiency

Inadequate nutrition and lack of protein supplements lower melanin production, which, in turn, leads to hair whitening.

  • Medical Conditions

Vitamin B-12 deficiency, thyroid disorders, and some autoimmune diseases may cause premature graying of hair.

  • Stress

Along with an increased intake of processed foods and alcohol, stress increases a person's risk of going prematurely gray.

  • Hormones

Hormonal imbalance can lead to hair whitening.

  • Extrinsic factors

Air pollution, climate, and exposure to harmful chemicals can cause your hair to lose pigment early.

Gray Hair Prevention

If you have noticed a few gray hairs here and there, don't worry. You can make your natural hair color last longer by making specific changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. These changes include:

  • Stop Smoking

Smoking adversely affects your health in many ways, and in addition to this, smoking damages your hair follicles.

  • Increase Your Intake Of Minerals

The following minerals play an important role in promoting hair growth and strengthening your hair:

  1. Iron
  2. Zinc
  3. Selenium
  4. Magnesium
  5. Copper
  • Increase Your Intake Of Vitamins

To keep your hair healthy and shiny, get enough of the following vitamins:

  1. Vitamin D
  2. B vitamins, particularly biotin and B-12
  3. Vitamin A
  4. Vitamin E
  • Stop Damaging Your Hair

Not only do the following actions damage your hair, but they also lead to premature graying of hair:

  • Using harsh shampoos which contain a large number of sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, and synthetic colors and fragrances
  • Strengthening, curling, or blow-drying your hair too frequently
  • Bleaching your hair
  • Often exposing your hair to the sun
  • Brushing your hair instead of combing it using a wide-toothed comb
  • Often washing your hair
  • Consume Foods That Help Prevent Loss Of Pigmentation

Such foods include:

  1. Berries
  2. Eggs
  3. Shellfish
  4. Spinach
  5. Walnuts
  6. Sunflower seeds
  • Practice Yoga

Believe it or not, practicing some yoga asanas can help prevent white hair formation. These yoga asanas include:

  • Chakrasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Kandharasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Trikonasana

Natural Home Remedies For Gray Hair

Some home remedies can help stop or prevent hair whitening. These include:

  • Amla (Phyllanthus Emblica). Apply amla oil to your scalp once a week or drink 170 milliliters of amla juice every day.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Mix one teaspoon of grated ginger with one tablespoon of honey and consume the mixture every day.
  • Black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum). Consume one tablespoon of black sesame seeds at least three times a week in order to reverse or prevent white hair progression.
  • Coconut oil. Massage your scalp and hair with coconut oil, preferably before going to bed. Then, rinse your hair with warm water.
  • Apply ghee to your scalp and hair two times a week.
  • Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium). Add a tablespoon of wheatgrass powder to your smoothies, stews, or soups every day, or drink 30-60 milliliters of wheatgrass juice daily.
  • Carrot juice. Drink 240 milliliters of fresh carrot juice regularly.
  • Onion (Allium cepa). Put one onion in a blender and then strain the onion to separate the juice from the onion pieces. Massage your scalp with the juice two times a week.
  • Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii). Put ½ cup of yogurt, and ¼ cup of curry leaves in a blender and blend until smooth. Apply the paste to your scalp and hair and leave it in place for half an hour. Do this at least three times a week.
  • Antioxidant-rich food. Oxidative stress enhances the loss of pigmentation and encourages hair whitening. Consuming foods high in antioxidants decreases the process of reducing melanin.

Foods loaded with antioxidants include:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Blueberries
  • Pecans
  • Artichokes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Goji berries
  • Red cabbage
  • Kale
  • Black tea. Due to the tannic acid found in black tea, this tea can pigment your hair and help it restore its natural color over time. Apply black tea to your hair once or twice a week.

Catalase is an enzyme that helps reverse the graying process.

Consume foods loaded with catalase, such as:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Kale
  • Almond paste. Accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can lead to white hair formation. Applying almond paste can help prevent the buildup of this chemical compound. To make almond paste, put ground almonds, 1 egg white, one teaspoon of almond extract, and some honey and water in a food processor and pulse until consistently mixed. Apply the paste to your hair once a week.
  • Sesame. Sesame helps stimulate melanocyte activity, which, in turn, promotes melanin production. So, consume sesame regularly to prevent the occurrence of white hair.

Natural Hair Dye For Gray Hair You Can Make At Home

Although homemade dyes aren't as strong as commercially available ones, they are natural, which means that they can't damage your hair. In what follows, we've presented 5 hair dyes you can make at home to make your white hair black naturally.

1. Henna (Lawsonia inermis)

To make henna hair dye, you'll need:

  • 4 tablespoons henna powder
  • 2 teaspoons black tea leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon amla powder
  • Conditioner

Instructions:

  1. Put the henna powder in 240 milliliters of water and let it soak for about 8 hours.
  2. Then, boil the black tea leaves and let them steep for a few minutes. Set them aside to cool.
  3. Poor the cooled black tea leaves into the henna paste. Then, add the amla powder and lemon juice to the mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Using gloves and an applicator brush, apply the dye to your hair and cover the gray hears.
  5. Leave the dye in place for an hour.
  6. Rinse your hair with shampoo and water.

You should use this dye only once a month.

2. Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

To make this remedy, you'll need:

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Mix the lemon juice and ground black pepper into the yogurt.
  2. Stir well until you get a smooth paste.
  3. Apply the paste to your hair.
  4. Leave the paste in place for one hour.
  5. Rinse your hair with shampoo and water.

To get the best results, repeat this three times a week.

3. Lemon And Coconut Oil

To make this dye, you'll need:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix the lemon juice and coconut oil in a bowl, and stir well until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Apply the paste to your scalp and hair, and leave it in place for half an hour.
  3. Rinse your hair with shampoo and water.

To get the best results, repeat this twice a week.

4. Rosemary And Sage

To make this paste, you'll need:

  • 3 to 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • A handful of sage leaves
  • 2 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Boil the sage leaves and let them cool.
  2. Pour the sage tea into a jar or jug, and then add the rosemary essential oil drops.
  3. Apply the mixture to your hair and make sure you cover well all the white hears.
  4. Leave it in place for around 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse your hair with water and shampoo.

Repeat this two to three times a week to get the best results.

5. Curry Leaves And Coconut Oil

To make this paste, you'll need:

  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Pour the coconut oil into a saucepan and then add the curry leaves. Heat the ingredients until a black residue starts forming.
  2. Let the oil cool.
  3. Then, massage the oil into your scalp and hair, covering all the gray hairs.
  4. Leave it in place for an hour.
  5. Rinse your hair with water and shampoo.

To get the best results, repeat this two to three times a week.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Can You Stop Premature Greying Of Hair

While it's normal to have a few gray hairs in your 40s, in your 20s or 30s, it's a disaster. Luckily, there are remedies that can help preserve melanin in your hair follicles. In what follows, we've presented 2 such remedies.

1. Amla And Henna Pack

To make this paste, you'll need:

  • 3 teaspoons amla powder
  • 1 cup hanna paste
  • 1 teaspoon coffee powder

Instructions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir them well until you get a smooth paste. If the paste turns out too thick, add some water.
  2. Apply the paste to your hair.
  3. Leave it in place for one hour.
  4. Rinse it out.

You can do this only once a month.

2. Kombucha

Apply 5 tablespoons of kombucha to your hair and leave it in place for 15 minutes. Then, wash your hair with water and shampoo. Repeat this two times a week.

Does Gray Hair Grow Slower?

No, it doesn't. Gray hair grows more quickly and is thicker than natural black hair.

How To Reduce Gray Hair At A Young Age?

Poor diet, genetics, and certain medical conditions can lead to gray hair at a young age.

Premature greying of hair can happen in adults and children as well. The most common factors that contribute to hair whitening in children include:

  • Frequent use of synthetic soaps and shampoo.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Too much exposure to UV light rays.
  • High-stress levels.

To prevent or reverse gray hair in children, the cause needs to be determined first. In most cases, treatments for hair whitening in children involve making certain changes to the diet. Children with this problem are required to increase their intake of foods high in vitamins and minerals and take vitamin supplements, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and calcium.

In what follows, we've presented 3 remedies that can help fight premature greying in children.

1. Bhringaraj

This herb is also known as "false daisy" or eclipta. It's helpful in preventing graying and hair loss. To make bhringaraj paste, you'll need to:

  1. Mix bhringaraj powder with water.
  2. Massage the paste into your child's hair.
  3. Leave it in place for one hour.
  4. Rinse their hair with water and shampoo.

You can also massage bhringaraj oil into the hair and scalp.

2. Aloe Vera

Advocates of natural cosmetics often recommend combining aloe vera juice with natural dyes, such as coffee, amla, or henna, to color gray hair.

To make aloe vera paste, you'll need to:

  • Mix coffee or henna with 240 milliliters of aloe vera juice and stir the mixture until smooth.
  • Massage the paste into your child's hair and scalp.
  • Leave it in place for one hour.
  • Rinse it off with water and shampoo.

3. Nutritional Supplements

A deficiency in copper, iron, calcium, and vitamins D3, B9, B7, and B12 is a common cause of premature graying of hair.

Taking supplements for these minerals and vitamins can help reverse white hair. Additionally, consuming foods high in iron, such as spinach, legumes, chickpeas, red meat, nuts, shellfish, and foods packed with vitamins, such as fish, eggs, and dairy, can effectively manage white hair in children as well.

Conclusion

  • When your hair starts to turn white, several factors are genetics, melanin deficiency, medical conditions, stress, hormones, frequent exposure to harmful chemicals, climate, and air pollution.
  • You can prevent gray hair by making specific changes to your lifestyle. These changes include:
  • Quit smoking
  • Increase your intake of minerals and vitamins
  • Stop damaging your hair
  • Consume foods that help prevent loss of melanin
  • Practice yoga
  • Natural home remedies, such as amla, ginger, black sesame seeds, coconut oil, and curry leaves can help prevent or stop the graying process.
  • To make your gray hair black naturally, you can use dyes that you can make at home, such as henna, black pepper, or lemon and coconut oil.

Sources And References

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hair-turn-gray-2017091812226

https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2938584/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290285/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471652/

Camila Thomas

Camila Thomas enjoys writing about physical and mental health, nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle. Her main goal is to educate, inform, and inspire readers globally to think and act. She inspires them to act and educate them on nutrition and healthy living using real and scientifically-based facts that support her ideas.
Disclaimer
This content is only for educational and informational purposes. It should not be considered as medical advice or taken as a treatment instead of one from a licensed physician. All readers should consult their doctors or certified health professionals before taking any advice from this site and applying it to their condition. We do not take responsibility for possible health issues of any person following the content in this informational website. All the viewers of this site should consult their physicians or doctors before taking on any supplement, diet, nutrition, or lifestyle program.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram