Premature graying of hair is also known as blanching of hair, poliosis, canities, and white hairs. Sometimes it can have negative effects on the appearance, confidence, and self-esteem of the individual.
Hair is almost like a social status for both men and women, and also children, and that’s why it is a great concern when they start graying.
Hair is colored by the pigment melanin, which is also responsible for skin color.
Hair color is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin:
More melanin, the color of the hair is darker; if less melanin is present, the hair is lighter.
Premature hair graying refers to the graying of the hair in young or before the age of 35 years.
Grey hair caused by gradual loss of melanin production in the hair follicles.
Graying varies by gender and race. Men are more affected than women.
Graying of hair occurs when the melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) lose their ability to produce pigment, melanin. Actually, hair does not turn gray, but the new hair with less melanin grows in, resulting in a range of colors from gray to silver to white.
Usually, it is normal for hair color to change, as the age advances. But they may become gray at any time in life. Nowadays, teenagers and people in their 20s may have white hair.
The human body has numerous hair follicles on the skin. These follicles produce hair and color or pigment cells containing melanin. When hair follicles lose pigment cells, it results in graying of hairs. In white hairs, there is an absence of melanocytes.
Causes of Premature graying of hair –
Causes of graying of hairs are unclear. It may occur due to nutritional, genetic, and environmental factors.
Nutritional – vitamin B-6, B-12, & vitamin E deficiency, severe iron deficiency, chronic loss of protein, copper deficiency may cause premature graying of hairs.
Sometimes low serum ferritin, and low serum calcium and vitamin D3 levels may be the causes too.
Genetic – Premature graying of hairs is largely connected to genetics. Premature graying of hairs may have a familial predisposition as hair pigmentation is a result of a complex interaction between various genetic factors.
It is thought that premature graying could be due to exhaustion of melanocyte’s capability to produce hair pigmentation.
As seen in Down syndrome there is accelerated aging including premature graying of hair and deficient DNA repair.
Oxidative stress – Is is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. While graying is mostly genetic, oxidative stress in the body may be the cause when the process happens prematurely. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process.
Too much oxidative stress promotes the development of diseases including vitiligo, a skin pigment condition where the hairs become gray. Dermatitis can also cause melanin cell death or loss of cell function.
Medical conditions – Certain diseases such as AIDS, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic protein deficiency, severe iron, thyroid dysfunction, or copper deficiencies may cause premature graying of hair.
Autoimmune disease can also cause premature white hair. This happens when our body’s immune system attacks its own cells.
White hair is also common in alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin condition in which there is hair loss on the scalp, face, and other parts of the body. In this condition, when the hair grows back, they may become white due to melanin deficiency.
Smoking – Smokers were 2.5 times more likely to experience premature graying (before age 30) than nonsmokers. It produces a large number of reactive oxygen species that increase oxidative stress leading to damage to melanocytes.
Environmental – Prolonged exposure to UV rays also may result in premature graying of hair.
Stress – It is commonly thought that chronic stress may lead to hair becoming white prematurely.
Chemicals – Hair dyes and hair products (hydrogen peroxide, hair bleaching products) also can cause premature graying of hair, as many of these products contain harmful chemicals that decrease melanin.
How to prevent premature graying of hair –
If genetics or aging is the cause, nothing can prevent or reverse the process. However, treating graying hair could allow color pigmentation to return if the loss is due to a medical condition.
If you are not ready to dye your hair you cannot restore the hair that has already gone gray in the previous color. However, you may be able to save the rest of your color and make some lifestyle changes to delay from becoming unavoidable for longer.
Correcting diet and vitamin deficiencies may reverse the premature graying of hair or stop it from worsening.
Antioxidants – A diet rich in antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidant-rich foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, green tea, olive oil, fish.
Vitamin deficiencies – consume things loaded with vitamins such as seafood, eggs, meat, milk, and vitamin supplements, etc.
Quitting smoking – Smoking has adverse effects on the body and contributes to white hair. And researchers have found a link between smoking and loss of hair pigmentation.
Natural remedies – There are so many hair dyes in market which can cover your white hairs, but many of them causes premature graying and allergic and adverse reactions.
Natural remedies slow down graying of hair without harming the body or causing hair pigment damage.
Curry leaves – The medicinal use of curry leaves is well known. Curry leaves can slow premature graying when combined with hair oil and applied to the scalp, .
Bhringaraj (false daisy) – The juice of the leaves is boiled in coconut oil or sesame oil and massaged into the hair. This can darken hair and keep it from becoming white early.
Indian gooseberry (Amla) – It is rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties. It helps in promoting pigmentation and thus reversing premature graying of hair. Mix Amla powder with coconut oil and apply directly to the scalp.
Black tea – It also can make hair darker. Boil it in water, let it cool. This can be applied directly to hairs.
Copper. Low copper levels also may cause premature graying. Good food sources of copper are beef liver, lentils, almonds, dark chocolate, and asparagus.
Homeopathic medicines for premature graying of hair –
Homeopathic treatment is a boon for premature hair graying. Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that treats the body as a whole not only the disease. A detailed case is taken including mental and physical symptoms for prescribing the medicine.
There are numerous homeopathic medicines which give great result in premature gray hair, without any side effect.
Some leading homeopathic medicines for premature graying of hair are as follows –
Phosphoric Acid- Is indicated when there is graying of hair due to grief, extreme exhaustion, and weakness.
Lycopodium Clavatum – It can be used when the de-pigmentation of hair occurs in spots.
Natrum Muriaticum – It is used mainly in weak and anemic persons. It helps to improve the general health and immunity of the person.
Phosphorus – The graying of hair may be accompanied by hair fall and dandruff. The scalp is itchy. Desires for cold drinks and ice creams.
Silicea – It is very beneficial when there is improper digestive system with premature graying of hair. In this case there is weak absorption of nutrients from food.
Vinca Minor – It is indicated when the hair has fallen in spots and replaced by gray hair.
“I believe that human health is a precious thing which may not be compromised at any cost. That’s why I strongly believe in Homeopathy, because it is so natural and NO harming side effects at all”.