There are some natural ways to prevent gray hair, but they are not guaranteed to work for everyone. In this article, we break down some tricks to preserving your hair color and debunk common gray hair myths.
Why Hair Goes Gray?
Hair goes gray when the pigment cells (melanocytes) in the hair follicles stop producing melanin, which gives hair its color. This can happen due to aging, genetics, stress, illness, or autoimmune disorders. When melanin production decreases, the hair shaft becomes filled with air pockets, which reflect light and make the hair appear gray, silver, or white. Sometimes, hair can also turn gray suddenly when patches of hair fall out due to a condition called alopecia areata and regrow without pigment.
Natural ways to prevent gray hair
Some of the natural remedies that you can try are:
- Eating a balanced diet: You should eat foods that are rich in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and antioxidants, as they can help maintain your hair color and health. Some of the foods that you can eat are salmon, beef, eggs, cheese, milk, olive oil, nuts, berries, and green leafy vegetables.
- Massaging your scalp with oils: You can massage your scalp with oils that contain xanthophylls, catalase, or omega-3 fatty acids, as they can help prevent oxidative stress and protect your hair follicles from losing pigment. Some of the oils that you can use are egg oil, onion juice, coconut oil, almond oil, or flaxseed oil.
- Reducing stress: You should try to reduce your stress levels, as stress can cause hair loss and premature graying. You can practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or hobbies that make you happy.
Eating a balanced diet to prevent gray hair
Eating a balanced diet can help you prevent hair gray by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to produce melanin and keep your hair healthy. Some of the foods that you can eat to prevent hair gray are:
- Foods rich in vitamin B12: This vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of nerve cells, which can affect your hair color. Some of the foods that are high in vitamin B12 are eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, fish, meat, and poultry.
- Foods rich in vitamin D: This vitamin helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for your bone health and hair growth. Vitamin D also regulates the expression of genes that are involved in hair pigmentation. Some of the foods that are high in vitamin D are fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks, cheese, and fortified cereals.
- Foods rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from free radical damage, which can cause oxidative stress and premature aging. Oxidative stress can also affect your hair follicles and reduce melanin production. Some of the foods that are high in antioxidants are berries, citrus fruits, green tea, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
- Foods rich in copper: Copper is a mineral that plays a role in the synthesis of melanin and the formation of collagen, which is a protein that gives your hair strength and elasticity. Copper also helps prevent inflammation and infection in your scalp. Some of the foods that are high in copper are lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, shellfish, and organ meats.
Massaging scalp with oils to prevent hair gray
Massaging your scalp with oils can help you prevent hair gray by stimulating blood circulation, nourishing your hair follicles, and reducing stress. Some of the oils that you can use to massage your scalp are:
- Egg oil: This oil contains antioxidants that can help stop premature hair graying. You can make your own egg oil by boiling eggs, extracting the yolks, and heating them in a pan until they turn dark brown. Then, strain the oil and store it in a glass bottle. Massage a coin-sized amount of egg oil into your scalp and leave it on overnight twice a week.
- Mustard oil: This oil can prevent scalp infections and hair problems that can cause hair gray. You can add some dried curry leaves and crushed fenugreek seeds to the oil for better results. Massage the oil into your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off with shampoo.
- Lavender oil: This oil can moisturize dry scalps and relax your mind and body with its scent. You can mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
- Rosemary oil: This oil can minimize greasiness in hair and promote hair growth. You can mix a few drops of rosemary oil with a carrier oil like olive oil or jojoba oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing it off with shampoo.
- Chamomile oil: This oil is a soothing option that can reduce itchiness and inflammation in your scalp. You can mix a few drops of chamomile oil with a carrier oil like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
Reducing stress to prevent hair gray
Reducing stress can help you prevent hair gray by preventing your hair from falling out and losing pigment. Stress can also affect your immune system, hormone levels, and metabolism, which can impact your hair health. Some of the ways that you can reduce stress to prevent hair gray are:
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep is essential for your body to repair and regenerate itself, including your hair follicles. Lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and oxidative stress, which can damage your hair and cause it to turn gray. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night.
- Practicing relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques can help you calm your mind and body, lower your blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels, which is a hormone that is associated with stress and hair loss. Some of the relaxation techniques that you can try are meditation, yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and aromatherapy.
- Exercising regularly: Exercise can help you release endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters. Exercise can also improve your blood circulation, which can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your scalp and hair. Exercise can also help you cope with stress and improve your self-esteem. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
- Seeking professional help: If you are experiencing chronic or severe stress that is affecting your daily life and well-being, you may benefit from seeking professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you identify the sources of your stress, provide you with coping strategies, and offer you emotional support. You may also consider taking medication if prescribed by your doctor.