That’s the thing about growing old: your skin and hair grow old with you. But just like there’s plenty you can do to take care of your skin and delay signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, etc, thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to save your hair as well.
“Greying refers to the natural process of the change in hair colour as you age. It is progressive, permanent, and not naturally reversible. In some cases, it happens prematurely too. We get our hair colour from this pigment called melanin. With age, the hair follicles make lesser melanin resulting in hair colour becoming gradually lighter in colour, eventually turning grey/white,” says Dr Apoorva Shah, founder, RichFeel Trichology Centre, Delhi.
As for the other hair-ageing monster–hair thinning—he says: “During the hair growth cycle, your hair grows thinner and falls out. New hair then gets generated and it replaces the lost hair. As you age, naturally, the rate at which new hair replaces the fallen hair slows down and each hair spends more time to grow. Also, hair follicles tend to decrease in size with age and thus, produce finer/thinner hair, leading to an appearance of varying degrees of baldness.”
Now, if you want to fight them off, you’ll have to put in a lot of effort in terms of making lifestyle changes and incorporating a healthy haircare routine to maintain your hair health.
In terms of lifestyle…
According to Dr Shah, stress is the most common cause that aggravates hair and scalp concerns.
Hence, he suggests finding a suitable way such as exercise, hobby, distraction, meditation, to manage and reduce stress.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated
“Your hair is what you eat,” states Dr Shah.
“Have your hair foods right and you’ll be on your way to getting hair that is full of life,” he adds and urges everyone to drink adequate water and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lentils, dairy products, and whole grains.
“Have a diet which is rich in iron and iodine as their deficiency can lead to thinning and greying hair problems. Foods such as beetroot, spinach, jaggery, and dates can help you a great deal,” says Shah.
He also recommends having vitamin B complex supplements—especially for those, who are vegetarians as this micronutrient helps with the absorption of iron in the body and prevent hair ageing.
“Having iodized salt can help fulfill the iodine requirement of the body,” he adds and further suggests having foods such as berries which are rich in antioxidants to get rid of the toxins in the body which may directly or indirectly be linked to thinning and greying of the hair.
Not only can exercising help you beat stress, but it can also boost blood circulation and thus, hair growth.
In terms of hair care…
Avoid heat-based styling equipment and chemically-laden hair products
Styling your hair as per the new trends in the fashion world comes with the steep price of hair damage, breakage, and weakening. This can make hair ageing even worse.
Follow a healthy hair care routine
Dr Shah recommends oiling, washing, conditioning, and air drying once-twice a week with products that suit your hair and scalp.