Struggling With Premature Gray or White Hair? Try THIS.
While some of us may think hair is just hair, many people look at their hair as part of their identity. Its length, strength, and maintenance become ways of expression. Some people look at haircuts as a ritual that marks a life change, a transition from closing an old chapter and beginning another. And for those of you who love hair care as much as we do, here is something for YOU.
We want to address a hair issue that plagues millions around the world. It is not just an aging problem. Today we have children, teenagers, and even young adults facing graying and whitening of their hair.
There are two ways of looking at graying.
As you are aging gracefully, there is nothing wrong with it. It is a beautiful part of aging, accept it. Make peace with the fact that the color of your hair is going to change at some point. Try not to resist what nature does for you. The problem lies when you are graying at a young age, aka premature graying.
Listen to the signs of your body. What is it trying to tell you? These symptoms could also be warnings. Is it pointing out a nutrient or trace mineral deficiency? If it is affecting the color of your hair, what else is it affecting in your body?
Is early graying or whitening telling you that you may have an autoimmune condition? Is it telling you that you have too much chronic stress, sleep deprivation, or lack of blood circulation because of a sedentary lifestyle? Today most of us are aging faster than we should because of our poor lifestyle.
Let’s deep dive into this and how you can stop it.
What is graying?
We have millions of hair follicles that contain a pigment called melanin. As we age automatically, these hair follicles naturally start to lose their pigment called melanin. This causes our hair to become gray or whiten.
Now, what happens when your lifestyle is poor? Let’s look at some warning signs.
Causes of premature gray hair
Is it a nutrient deficiency or chronic inflammation?
When you are constantly consuming junk food, white sugar, refined flours, and ultra-processed foods filled with chemicals, you expedite the aging process. We also put immense stress on our bodies and kickstart the process of inflammation.
While inflammation is a necessary immune response, chronic and uncontrolled inflammation is the root cause of most lifestyle diseases. It affects every single cell in your body. And when it comes to hair, this inflammation affects millions of hair follicles. Junk food doesn’t contain essential minerals and vitamins like copper, B vitamins, iron, omega-3, and iodine that you need to maintain the pigment of your natural hair. The deficiency of these essential nutrients can start the graying process at a young age. So, check with your doctor if your graying is pointing out a nutrient deficiency and fix it.
Are you managing your stress levels?
Everybody has stress. How are you navigating it? Photo Credit: Pixabay
We don’t mean to induce fear in you. But chronic stress is the second most common reason after nutrition deficiencies for graying. A new research study pointed out that your body’s flight or fight response plays a role in turning hair gray.
Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells that determine your hair color. New melanocytes are made from melanocyte stem cells that reside in the hair follicles at the root of your hair strands. When you age, these stem cells gradually disappear. When you are chronically stressed, you release the hormone norepinephrine that damages your melanocyte cells. It causes them to rapidly turn into pigment cells and move out of the hair follicles. Without these stem cells left to create new pigment cells, any new hair turns gray or white.
So stress is a big problem that needs to be looked at when it comes to graying.
Is your graying genetic?
Find out if the graying of hair is genetic. If it is highly genetic, no matter what you do, there’s a high chance that you will experience it too. While you cannot do much if it is a genetic predisposition, remember that most graying cases can also be caused by a hormonal imbalance.
We all know that hormonal imbalances are rooted in poor lifestyle habits like nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise or too much exercise, sleep deprivation, and chronic stress. If you were to sit and analyze the cause behind most premature graying cases, you will notice that it boils down to lifestyle.
Are you constipated? Are you anemic?
Apart from genetics or hormonal imbalances, studies also point to the correlations between premature graying and pre-existing conditions such as chronic constipation and even anemia. In anemia, when you have low ferritin levels or an iron deficiency and your hemoglobin, you can experience early graying of hair.
Is it the side effect of your medications?
This is why we always emphasize the importance of having an open conversation with your doctor or health care provider. Don’t just pop the pills. Take time to sit across the table and ask your doctor about the side effects of your medications. And if they tell you these exist, it is important to chart an action plan on managing these side effects with your integrative experts. In our experience, certain treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can also cause premature graying or whitening of hair.
Are you sleep-deprived?
Sleep, sleep, and sleep. Sleep is paramount. You can go and put all the chemicals on your head, drink all possible tonics and juices in the world or consult the best experts – but if you are sleep deprived, you will age faster than you should. Medical science connects sleep deprivation and the graying of hair. Lack of sleep creates inflammation in your body and weakens stem cells at every level. You need healthy stem cells not just for your hair but for the prevention and recovery of most diseases today. Fix your sleep routines. Learn more about the best pre-bedtime rituals you can adopt here.
Are you smoking excessively?
The easiest way to damage your hair and age faster is smoking. Smoking affects your lungs, immunity, and your hair goals. So the next time you feel tempted to take a puff, remember that these toxins are damaging your hair follicles and lead to premature graying. Not just active, but passive smoking is equally bad if you are already struggling with early graying.
Are you using harsh hair care treatments?
When you constantly bleach your hair and use chemical-laden harsh shampoos and conditioners, you age faster. Another reason why we always stress is – Learn to read labels. Most of these fancy shampoos and cosmetics packaged artistically are trying to distract you from the ingredient list at the back of the bottle. Say no to sulfate and paraben products and choose natural alternatives instead. Shop here to find some good options. Remember, any product that you put on your body gets absorbed into your bloodstream. So make an informed choice always.
Lifestyle tips and natural remedies for premature gray hair
- Fix your nutritional deficiencies
Today, most people pop supplements thinking their hair will get better. While supplementation can help, hopping onto them without making lifestyle changes is useless. You can try allopathic, homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and naturopathic medicines. But if you aren’t willing to take charge of your lifestyle, your plan is incomplete.
- Eat copper-rich foods
A good way to get your dose of copper is waking up in the morning and drinking water out of a copper bottle, jug, or cup. But remember, balance is everything. Avoid overdoing it by drinking copper water throughout the day. Copper and zinc work synergistically. So if you have too much copper, your zinc levels fall. You need to maintain balance because zinc is a crucial trace mineral for your hair, immune system, heart, liver, lungs, and skin.So drink a cup or two of water in a copper cup. The maximum limit can be a liter a day. But beyond that, you need to move back to normal water.Some rich sources of copper include cashew nuts (not deep-fried or salted), potatoes, chickpeas, mushrooms, almonds, etc. Use chickpeas to make hummus, a superfood for your skin and hair health and even your muscles. Check out our hummus recipes here.
- Include nuts and seeds in your meals
Make pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and so on in your meals. Add a variety of nuts to your daily diet. Add them to your salads. Seeds and nuts can benefit your health beyond your skin and hair. A recent study also found that walnuts stimulate melanin synthesis and increase the pigmentation of your hair which is a crucial process if you are graying prematurely
- Get your B-vitamins
Many people struggling with prematurely gray hair have a vitamin B deficiency. So their doctor, nutritionist, hair specialist, or dermatologist, may attempt to fix this deficiency by putting them on a B-Complex or B vitamin supplements. Other rich sources of vitamin B include yogurt, paneer, bananas, carrots, and vegetable juices.Try this vegetable juice
Want to make a fantastic vegetable juice loaded with B-vitamins? Try this. Blend a carrot, beetroot, cucumber, a little bit of ginger, black pepper, turmeric, and a drop of olive oil or coconut oil together. The enriching properties of this juice will boost oxygen to reach millions of hair follicles.
- Engage in adequate exercise
Move, move and move. Living a sedentary life equals poor blood circulation. Remember, your blood has to work against gravity to reach your hair follicles. Engaging in adequate exercise is an excellent way to ensure this. Besides your workout, deep breathing exercises, yoga (especially Balayam yoga and inversions like Sarvangasana, Viparitakarini, Halasana), and pranayama are effective for the health of your hair follicles.
- Keep oiling your hair
Oiling hair is an age-old practice across several civilizations in the world. Yet, more people do not oil their hair today. Using pure coconut oil is a great way to nourish your hair follicles. There is also one practice that has effectively worked for many of our clients around the globe.
All you need to do is add a teaspoon of fenugreek powder and curry leaf powder to your pure coconut oil. You can either buy curry leaf powder online here or grow curry leaves at home. Dry, crush and powder them before use. This can help deeply nourish your hair follicles and boost pigmentation. Find more benefits of this oil here.
- Add amla to your hair care routineIndian Gooseberry is rich in vitamin C and trace minerals for your hair. You can eat it or use chemical-free amla shampoos or also use oils that have hibiscus, amla, and bhringraj in them. Bhringraj is an ayurvedic plant that is super effective against graying and whitening of hair. We use these hair concoctions for most chemotherapy patients and radiation patients too.
- Harness the power of onion juice
You can apply plain onion juice to your scalp to manage graying. Onions with their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties promote healthy hair growth and give your tresses extra oomph in appearance.
- Rinse your hair with black tea
The effectiveness of black tea for premature graying and other hair benefits can be attributed to Chinese medicine. All you need to do is make a cup of black tea and let it cool down. Apply the solution to your scalp for an hour and rinse it off with water. Do not use shampoo for the next 24 hours.
- Get that Vitamin D
Check your Vitamin D3 levels. Having low levels of it can also result in early graying. Get adequate sunlight or if you live in countries with limited sunlight, take supplements under the supervision and guidance of your healthcare provider.
- Add selenium to your diet
Selenium is beneficial for those struggling with premature gray hair. A rich source of selenium includes Brazil nuts, seafood, sunflower seeds, cashews, meat, whole eggs, spinach, lentils, and so on.
The difference between gray hair vs white hair at a young age
While premature gray hair is common among many youngsters today, if you have white hair at a very young age, you may want to check for the following:
Is it an autoimmune condition?
The best way to address the root cause is to consult an integrative health expert and undertake the tests they prescribe. White hair at a young age is common in autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroid, lupus, vitiligo, eczema, psoriasis, or even multiple sclerosis.
Check if your white hair is pointing towards alopecia. There are many kinds of alopecia where your own immune system attacks your hair follicles and the pigmentation reduces melanin thereby whitening your hair.
Are your poor lifestyle habits to blame?
Address your poor lifestyle. Navigate your stress, limit your intake of inflammatory foods. If you are eating gluten, when you are celiac or gluten intolerant, or if you continue to eat dairy when you are dairy or lactose intolerant, this will cause immense inflammation and make your autoimmune condition worse. Try our gluten-free or dairy-free challenge. Need tips on where to start? Read this. Smoking again is a big contributor to whitening your hair.
Have you checked your thyroid function?
Hyperthyroid or hypothyroid can also be an indicator of white hair. Get your thyroid function checked.
Did you know low vitamin B12 and poor gut health are related?
Most people have low vitamin B12 levels due to gut health problems. Remember your Vitamin B12 synthesis happens in the gut. You may be taking supplements. But if you have poor gut health, you’re not synthesizing B12 and that is a bigger problem. Get in touch with our integrative team of experts and fix your gut if you constantly suffer from acidity bloating, thrush, SIBO.
If you have gut dysbiosis where the bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract become unbalanced, unexplained Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and loose motions – it interferes with the synthesis of Vitamin B12 which in turn affects the pigment of your hair.
Luke’s food for thought
If you are looking for instant gratification and quick fixes, let us tell you it can only suppress your symptoms. You need to slow down and address the root cause of your premature graying or whitening problem. We are living in a world where it is easy to blame everything on stress. But my question is what are you doing about it? If you find yourself graying before you should or whitening rapidly – is it inspiring you to listen to the signs of the body and change your lifestyle, food habits, exercise, and sleep?
Before you jump onto all the chemical treatments, remember that only addressing the symptoms will give you short-term results.
Need a solution that marks a substantial shift? Address the root cause of your problem from a holistic angle. If you need help, get in touch with our integrative team of experts. We will help you find a way.
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