Say goodbye to stray greys

Say goodbye to stray greys

Greying hair is an irreversible reality of life and is often associated with ageing. Melanin is the factor that is responsible for greying. The root of every hair strand under the scalp is under the hair follicle, which has pigment cells. These cells produce melanin and give the hair its colour.

Natural ageing, medical conditions like thyroid, vitiligo or B12 deficiency or the lifestyle choices such as stress, nutritional deficiency, smoking, hormonal imbalances, unclean scalp, dandruff or excessive use of hairdryers and irons are factors that can cause greying.

Spotting strands of white hair on your scalp at a young age can be devastating. However, keep in mind that you are not alone. Premature greying is as common as cold and cough these days. Pulling out every strand of white hair can affect your self-esteem and confidence. Regardless of age, gender and race, these types of hair disorders are fairly common. Signs of premature greying may affect one's appearance, confidence and social acceptance too. Premature greying can also be genetic. Hair pigmentation is a result of one's genes. Moreover, prolonged exposure to UV rays and habits like smoking can damage hair follicles that cause premature greying.

But there is always a solution to greying, and you don't necessarily have to go in for hair dyes or colours. Here are simple remedies to tackle the signs of premature greying:

* Include curry leaves in your daily diet to get a dose of zinc and to add green colour to your meals. You can also infuse curry leaves in coconut oil and apply directly to your scalp. To create an infusion, boil a handful of curry leaves in coconut oil and let it cool and store in an airtight bottle. You can massage your hair with this oil once or twice in two weeks.

* Amla or the Indian gooseberry is quite effective in treating premature greying. Mix amla powder with coconut oil and apply this on your hair for added shine and healthy locks.

* Indian ginseng or ashwagandha is known to increase the melanin content in the hair follicles. This is invariably effective in treating greying.

* Eat food that is rich in catalase, which is an antioxidant that prevents greying. Some of the catalase-rich foods are radish, cherries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, kale, cucumbers, onions, broccoli, cabbage etc.

* Use coconut oil to regularly condition your hair and to improve its growth. This is a quick and effective remedy to keep greying at bay.

* Quit smoking. If you are a habitual smoker kick the butt right away. Cigarettes have cancer-causing elements that also affect your hair follicles.

As we get older, the pigment cells of the hair follicles gradually tend to die. Follicles that are low on melanin content will start becoming grey, white or silver, as hair grows. While you can't just reverse the process, you can definitely try some home remedies or consult a doctor to lessen the effects. Keep your stress levels as low as possible and be a sport while handling changes caused due to ageing. Meditation can be a great help to ease off tension and stress.

(The author is head of training, The Body Shop India)

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