Your hair color depends on melanin pigment, which is produced in your hair follicles. Melanin is available in two types: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is available in your hair follicles in to colors, black and brown. While a low concentration of brown eumelanin causes your hair to grow in blonde color, high concentration of the same leads to your hair color being brown. On the other hand, high concentration of black eumelanin leads to black hair growth and gray hair growth with low concentration of the same. Pheomelanin generally leads to red hair growth. The fact that your hair color is black, blonde or brown does not mean that you do not have pheomelanin; it is available but in reduced amount. Depending on your race therefore, you are bound to have black, brown, blonde or red hair.
Causes of Hair Greying
Regardless of your race and your hair color, you are bound to grow gray hair at some stage in your life. This is because of several factors:
- Age – You are bound to grow gray hair due as you age. This usually sets in around the age of 40. It is a natural biological process control by genes.
- Heredity – Apart from natural process of aging, you can grow gray hair right from childhood. This is attributed to heredity factor.
- Medical condition – Medical conditions such as albinism and vitiligo interfere with production of melanin in the hair follicles. This means that your hair grow without any pigmentation (melanin). High levels of stress have also been noted to interfere with the production of melanin, which can lead to gray hair growth.
- Diet – Your hair follicles depend on vitamins, minerals and essential oils to produce melanin. Regularly consuming a diet that is less on these nutrients interferes with the production of melanin, meaning that your hair may grow gray (without pigmentation).
- Lifestyle – Your general lifestyle can also affect the production of melanin. Cigarette smoking in particular interferes with smooth production of melanin.
It is worth noting that your hair is extension of your skin. The same nutrients that your skin cells use are the same that your hair follicles use to produce melanin. You can therefore safely say that your hair is healthy or unhealthy as your skin is. From the reasons for gray hair above, the occurrence of gray hair growth boils down to cessation in the production of melanin in your hair roots (follicles). This means that melanocytes (cells) that are responsible for the production and storage of melanin fail to store any pigmentation, letting your hair grow gray.
Natural Remedies for Hair Greying
Various cosmetic products are available in the market that you can use to ‘treat’ gray hair. Such do not however provide complete cure but sort of cover. They include dyes and hair colors. These products offer cover for only a few months, forcing you to apply them on a regular basis. Some natural remedies have however proved effective in preventing and treating gray hair. Their use however requires patience because it can take you several months with their use before you notice positive results. They include:
- Use of Indian Gooseberry – Indian gooseberry is one of the oldest natural remedies for preventing and treating gray hair. It is dried and boiled in coconut oil. You apply the resultant tonic on your scalp. It encourages your hair follicles to start producing melanin and therefore growth of pigmented hair.
- Use of Amaranth leaves – Amaranth juice obtained from the leaves has for a long time been used in achieving natural hair color. In addition, it keeps the hair soft and healthy.
- Use of Curry leaves – Curry leaf juice is very effective in providing vitality and strength to your hair roots. Hair that grows contains pigment. It is one of the most effective remedies for preventing and treating gray hair.
- Use of butter – You can prevent gray hair by use of butter obtained from cow’s milk. It is very effective in preventing the growth of gray hair. You need to consume some and make it a routine of applying it on your scalp at least twice a week.
- Diet – Eating a diet rich in varied vitamins, minerals and essential oils is a sure way of preventing the growth of gray hair. This ensures that your hair follicles have the necessary ingredients for the production of melanin.
While natural growth of gray hair is considered a sign of maturity and wisdom, you may need to prevent or treat the same in case your hair starts to change early.