You might often find a stray hair or two when brushing your hair in the morning or night. A few stray white or grey hairs are not a big concern. Generally, hair turns white or grey when it loses melanin, the component in your skin and hair that produces its colour.
Melanin is a natural component that is present all over your body. The lesser melanin you have in your skin and hair, the lighter your hair and skin will be. That means black hair has the most melanin, grey hair has less melanin, and white hair has none.
As you start ageing, it is natural to see more and more white or grey hairs. That is a symptom of ageing, as you lose melanin.
Scientists have estimated that the chances of your hair turning grey and white increase by up to 20 per cent after you hit 30 years old. However, due to underlying health conditions or genetics, many people start noticing grey or white hair earlier than that age.
What causes hair to turn from black to white or grey?
There are many myths and misinformation surrounding the fact that you can regain your natural, dark hair colour even after it has become grey or white. While certain health conditions might cause grey or white hair, and these can be reversed, most chances are that your hair won’t change from white or grey to black.
In case you have a nutrient deficiency or an underlying health condition that has led to a change in your hair colour, it could be possible to reverse these conditions. But you cannot expect to change your hair colour if you are older than 40 or 50, as this is a natural sign of ageing. Plus, you cannot change your genetics either.
You must also know that some factors affect and lead to changes in your hair colour, such as nutrient deficiency. In this case, changing your diet or taking supplements might help slowly restore your natural hair colour.
You might have come across several myths regarding your hair colour and how white hair can be changed to black again. In this piece, you will learn how these myths are not valid. You will also learn how to manage your natural hair colour.
Why can’t you change your hair to black colour permanently?
Hair is naturally white. The pigment-producing component gives your hair and skin the colour that you were born with; that is, this pigment is genetic. To understand the concept of melanin better, understand the following.
Your hair follicles are made of cells that contain melanin to produce pigments. The melanin combines with the protein in your hair named keratin.
As mentioned earlier, melanin in your hair starts decreasing after you get into your 30s. The actual rate of colour you would lose from your hair depends almost entirely on your genes. For example, if your parents and grandparents have lost their natural hair colour prematurely, there is a high chance that that would also happen to you.
Even if you have seen claims made in advertisements on the television or the Internet about being able to reverse hair colour, you must understand that that is not possible. That is because when you lose melanin from your hair, your hair follicles cannot start producing the pigment again on their own. Thus, the production of melanin slows down, leading to your hair becoming grey and then slowly turning white.
When can you change your white or grey hair to black?
There are conditions when you can change your prematurely turned grey hair to black again. Generally, premature greying is hereditary; however, there can be other factors.
Here are the possibilities when your hair might become grey or white prematurely. Of course, you would know of both of the factors listed below, but here is some detail about them.
If you have a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, adequate sleep and exercise, then chances are that your prematurely greying hair is not linked to a nutritional deficiency. But if you lack vitamin B-12, it would affect the production of melanin in your hair follicles. If you lack such nutrients as copper, iron and folate, you risk greying or white hair. The best treatment in such cases is taking dietary supplements, which would start showing results after weeks of regular use.
You should consult with your doctor before taking any supplements, as you would need a blood test to see if you even need these supplements.
Underlying health conditions-
Certain health conditions such as thyroid disease, alopecia areata and vitiligo might lead to premature greying of your hair. Fluctuations in your hormone levels may also cause your hair colour to change. These medical conditions can be managed and treated, but it would take time to get your natural hair colour back.
How to prevent your hair from changing to white or grey?
Unless there is a diagnosed health condition or nutritional deficiency in your body, there is almost no chance you can reverse the premature greying of your hair. That means you cannot possibly prevent your hair from growing and aid the production of melanin.
However, some things are in your control, and these could lead to an improvement in your condition. At the least, these could slow your hair from losing its colour.
- You should maintain your weight and have an active and healthy lifestyle. That would mean you cannot smoke.
- It would be best if you tried to manage stress as it can lead to poor melanin production in your hair follicles.
- It would be best if you reduced the exposure of your hair to chemicals, pollution and the sun by wearing headscarves and hats.
There are no ways to get back your natural hair colour if you have started to lose it prematurely due to genetics. However, you could talk to your hairstylist and get your hair dyed permanently or semi-permanently. You can even use natural hair dyes if you don’t want to risk hair damage, and use onion and apple cider shampoo to keep your hair in good health. The best natural ingredients for your hair are Indian gooseberry, onion extract, hibiscus, mulethi, brahmi and henna.