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Did you have a mini heart attack the moment you spotted a grey hair on your head? While greying hair is completely normal as we age, if it happens before time it can be a cause of concern.
Your hair follicles contain a pigment called melanin. Found in melanocytes cells, they are responsible for giving colour to your hair. And as you age, your follicles lose the pigmentation turning your black or brown hair into grey or white.
When you experience premature greying, it’s the diminishing melanin in the hair that’s to blame too. Expect, your genes and external factors such as stress, deficiency of vitamins, and smoking could be causing it instead of your age.
To know how you can prevent premature greying of hair we contacted Dr Manjul Agarwal, senior consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.
She says, “For us Indians, if hair starts greying before 25 years of age then we can call it is premature greying and you need to put in some effort to tackle it.”
Dr Garwal suggests following these tips to prevent premature greying of your beautiful tresses.
Dr Agarwal says, “People with a deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, calcium, copper and vitamin D can experience premature greying.” She suggests increasing the intake of all essential vitamins and drinking water from a copper vessel.
In fact, a study published in the journal Development Notes also found that vitamins B12 and D3 have a connection to greying hair. The same study also suggests that you can reverse it with vitamin supplements.
However, please consult your doctor before starting any supplements or medications.
Major stressors in your life can cause oxidative stress in the body leading to grey hair. Stress creates more free radicals in the body which can affect the quality and colour of your hair.
A study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that cells responsible for offering pigmentation to the hair can get depleted when you are under too much stress.
Just like stress, smoking also increases free radicals in your body which can cause the colour of your natural hair colour to fade. In a study published in Italian Dermatology Online Journal, it was found that smokers are twice more likely to suffer premature greying than non-smokers.
Dr Agarwal also says, “Smoking can increase the oxidative stress which can damage your hair leading to premature greying.”
Another study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, confirms that smoking is indeed linked with this phenomenon.
Kick the cigarette butt to manage your greying hair. Image: Shutterstock
Just like your skin, UV rays have a harmful effect on your hair too. Constant exposure to the harmful rays can lighten your hair in the long run. Dr Agarwals advises, “Try to cover your hair with a scarf, cap or an umbrella every time you step out under the harsh sun.”
Including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can save you from premature greying as it has the ability to fight off free radicals. A study published in the Journal of Trichology found that antioxidants can prevent oxidative stress and the greying of hair.
Dr Agarwal also suggests using a shampoo that has antioxidants, vitamin C, and E for topical assistance.
“It is a very common reason behind the greying of hair, especially amongst women. The greying of hair can be because your thyroid gland is not working properly. If you doubt something is not right with your hormones, it is better to talk to a doctor to rule out any chances of hypothyroidism,” says Dr Agarwal.
“Apart from the above-mentioned tips, you must always follow a healthy lifestyle with proper rest. Otherwise, even your sleeping pattern and the biological clock can mess with you,” concludes Dr Agarwal.