By Dr. Punit Pratap, Dermatology
The color of hair changes to grey when the color-producing cells of the body cease to produce pigment. It is also possible that hydrogen peroxide that occurs naturally is built up and this bleaches the colour. The normal age for greying in white people is their mid-30s, for Asians, it is late-30s and for Africans, it is mid-40s. In case the greying occurs before this period, it is known as premature greying.
It is not true that premature greying is caused only due to medical problems and stress. It is due to the absence of a pigment called Melanin.
A tube of hair tissue surrounds the scalp where the root of the hair is located. This is called a hair follicle and it contains the pigment cells which produce melanin. The melanin production capacity of these cells reduce as we get older. Hereditary factors and genetics play a major role in premature greying as well. Some other factors include:
1. Medical Conditions:
- Thyroid Problem: Thyroid glands when underused or overused affect melanin production causing premature greying
- B12 deficiency causes premature greying
- Vitiligo: Damage to pigment producing cells causes this condition which leads to premature greying
2. Lifestyle choices: Common aspects of a person’s lifestyle, such as faulty diet, smoking, Excessive use of hair dryers etc., can affect the pigmentation of hair.
1. Consumption of curry leaves and their inclusion in your diet would help in reducing premature greying.
2. Ashwagandha, which is known to increase melanin production, can be applied on the scalp to avoid premature greying as well.
3. Amla, which is an Indian gooseberry is recommended for treating premature greying. It is first cut and dried, after which it is mixed with coconut oil and then applied on the hair.