Gray or White
hair at young age can be a distressing and annoying at times for many but for
older people, gray hair can symbolize wisdom and maturity. Graying may make one
look older. Good news is recently, scientists have found that graying hair
might be protecting you from
You will observe the first grey hairs usually near
the temples, then to the crown and then at the back of your head.The common belief that for every
graying hair they remove, two will grow back up in place of the lost one is a myth.
Hair color comes from a protein and a pigment called
melanin. The cells in the hair follicles
that make and store melanin are called melanocytes. The melanocytes also present in
the basal layer of the epidermis that produces melanin under the control of the
The stem cells at the base of hair follicles produce melanocytes.Melanocytes are also present in your hair follicles
right next to the dermal sheath, an area below the hair bulge where you can
also find keratinocyte cells. Working
synchronously, melanocytes and keratinocytes are the building blocks of your
Hair color is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin,eumelaninand pheomelanin. Generally, if more melanin is
present, the color of the hair is darker; if less melanin is present, the hair
is lighter. Levels of melanin can vary over time causing a person's hair color
to change, and it is possible to have hair follicles of more than one color.
Pheomelanin colors hair red. Eumelanin, which has two subtypes of black
or brown, determines the darkness of the
hair color. A low concentration of brown eumelanin results in blond hair,
whereas a higher concentration of brown eumelanin will color the hair brown.
High amounts of black eumelanin result in black hair, while low concentrations
give gray hair. All humans have some pheomelanin in their hair.
Gray hair results from a reduction of pigment. White
hair has no pigment. Changes in hair color typically occur naturally as people
age, eventually turning the hair gray and then white. This is called achromotrichia.
There is a pocket that houses melanocyte stem cells
halfway up the follicle, above the bulb. These stem cells turn into melanocytes
when old melanocytes die off. The death or inactivity of the melanocyte stem
cells causes the onset of graying.
Aging: No available treatment – only solution is colour the
hair.( white people will begin to gray in their mid-thirties and Asian people
begin graying in their late thirties, but most black people can retain their
original hair color until their mid-forties.) Your chance of going gray
increases 10 to 20 percent every decade after 30 years. By age 50, most people can expect 50 percent of
their hair to be gray.
There are two theories of aging. The signs of aging are programmed in our genes or DNA.
The second is that our cells and DNA wear out and get damaged over time
eventually leading to aging and the end of life. If we can find damage to the
DNA or cells dying as we get older, then maybe genes are not involved in aging.Some people believe as we get a
little bit older we don't produce enough catalase and then the hydrogen
peroxide cannot be broken down and that bleaches your hair from the inside out,
turning it gray
premature graying of hair is called canities
in medical terminology How fast your hair turns grey really depends on the
person's genetic predisposition and certain lifestyle factors that can directly
influence the production of the pigment melanin. If you have a family history
of premature grey hairs, the chances of your hair turning graying much earlier
in life is far greater.
Genetic: No available treatment - only
solution is colour the hair. Two genes appear to be responsible for the process
of graying, Bcl2 and Bcl-w. Gene therapy may someday help us
treat the signs of aging
Smoking: Smokers were found to be four times
more likely to begin graying prematurely, compared to nonsmokers.
Lack of sleep and excess stress: Excessive stress is the principal
creator of chronic free radical damage that can damage vulnerable cells
like Melanocytes and influence melanin production.
Malnutrition:(certain Minerals cupper,
zink etc. and Vit B deficiency) is
also known to cause hair to become lighter, thinner, and more brittle. The
condition is reversible with proper nutrition.
Pernicious Anemia (Vitamin B12deficiency): Facing a deficiency in vitamin B
especially B12 has been associated with less effective hair pigmentation
Thyroid deficiencies: Hyper or Hypo
Albinism: (a genetic abnormality in which little pigment is found in human hair, eyes or
Vitiligo (a patchy loss of hair and skin color that may occur as the result of an auto-immune disease.)
Werner Syndrome (premature
aging disease that begins in adolescence or early adulthood and results in the
appearance of old age by 30-40 years of age)
Apart from this
spicy, oily, fast or junk foods, addictive foods like tea, coffee, alcohol and
long illnesses, some medications etc are blamed to be the cause of premature
currently available treatment options, it appears that the greying process
cannot be effectively reversed. There is no scientific evidence at the moment
that any existing medicine, diet, herb, supplement or natural product can
prevent or reverse greying hair. The only current option that delivers
satisfactory results is changing the colour of your existing hair. You can
either use regular hair dyes or try progressive hair colorants. Unlike regular hair dyes, progressive hair colorants only affect your grey hair and not your
non gray hair, changing its colour gradually and unnoticeably. It makes their
hair look more natural, as they do not have to cover up all their grey. One interesting point about gray hair is
that it is thicker and usually grows faster than normal, pigmented hair, which
makes it more visible and difficult to cover with colour. Gray hair
may temporarily darken after inflammatory processes, after
electron-beam-induced alopecia, and after some chemotherapy regimens. However,
French scientists treating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). patients with a new cancer drug Gleevec or Glivec noted an unexpected
side effect: some of the patients' hair color was restored to their pre-gray
there are some traditional and commercial
products that claim to be effective in preventing and reversing graying
of them are:
Topical liquid, cream or foam, foam, oil, lotion or spray
TOUCH OF GRAY
Oral Tabb or powder
SH SHOU WU PILL
OU WU PIA
Substances Used in these products are:
FO-TI or He Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum)a
Chinese herb also known
as Chinese knotweed or flowery knotweed, There is no clinical
research available supporting the claim of its efficacy
(para-aminobenzoic acid) is often referred to as vitamin BX or B10 and it is believed to be an anti-aging and
anti-grey hair vitamin.
another member from the group of vitamins B (B9)
An average healthy person is unlikely
to register a change in the colour of their hair as a result of the extra
intake of these two vitamins. Their administration can only be beneficial in
rare, grey hair conditions caused by the deficiency of any of these two
Amla or Indian Gooseberry
An Indain Fruit known as 'Amla'. You can make gooseberry oil and apply it to
the scalp. To make the oil, you need to heat some amount of coconut oil with
few pieces of the Indian gooseberries. After the berries turn dark, turn off
the heat and let the solution cool down. Remove the berries and apply the oil
to your hair.
Molasses is made out of sugarcane or sugar beets juice. The juice is boiled at
high temperatures which crystallizes the sugars. When the left over liquid is
heated up two more times, blackstrap molasses is formed. Blackstrap molasses
also contains such as calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium etc.
its water solution applied topically. It is an old wive’s tale assumed to work
in a similar fashion to the metallic-based, hair colorants, gradually changing
the colour of white hair. Its mechanism of action and potential efficacy are unknown.
is another traditional natural remedy Strong sage tea should be applied to the
hair and left to dry, then rinsed with water and dried. This therapy should be
repeated weekly until the desired shade is achieved. It is conceivable that the
strong sage tea could stain and colour.
Wheat grass(contains all essential
minerals the body needs) Sea weeds(kelp, nori, dulse)
Catalase: It is believed by
some that as we get a little bit older we don't produce enough of enzyme called
catalase and then the hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down and that bleaches
your hair from the inside out, turning it gray. Products like Go away gray and
Beggan Pills have this as a main ingredient
Emu oil: supposed to moisturize and preserve
the hair nutrients like Omega3 and Vit B12
THE NAILSan old technique from India against each
other is said to help circulation (as nerve endings are located under the
Henna (Mehdi) :Dried
Henna powder from henna leaves of the plant has been used traditionally in
India as temporary body decoration or tattoos.
It is also used to color the hair. It gives brownish red colour. Benefit
is believed to be it is a natural product and there is no synthetic pigment.
One of the ways to use is:
Henna is okay if you don’t have clorinated water, or go into swimming pools as
it will turn green or purple with the chemical reaction. It builds up and does
exactly what i told you henna will when exposed to chlorine. A temporary hair
color does a good job, and covers all the hair. The bonus is it will give
shine, and make the other hair more lusterious conditioning also.
Usage of henna powder is also one the
effective methods for gray hair treatment. Prepare a mix of henna powder (2
tbsp.), yogurt (1 tsp.), fenugreek seed powder (1 tsp.), coffee (3 tsp.), basil
juice (2 tsp.) and mint juice (3 tsp.). Use this mix to massage the scalp and
let it stay for about 3 hours. Thereafter, get your hair washed with a mild
are a simple and fast solution for grey hair, using it too often can be a
potential health hazard for you. Conventional hair dyes are laden with
synthetic chemicals and carcinogens that can do more harm than good in the long
run. Bear in mind that dyes that are darker in color can contain significantly
more damaging chemicals like Phenylenediamine (PPD) than those with
The Types of Hair Colouring
Semi-permanent hair color cannot
lighten hair. Hair can only be lightened using chemical lighteners, such as
bleach. Bleaching is always permanent because it removes the natural pigment. Select a hair color that is two shades lighter than your natural hair
shade, so that it blends well with the gray hair strands.
There are many options for what
you can do with your hair 1.Color/ Bleaching 2.Highlighting/Lowlighting 3.Tinting 4. Re-Coloring There are 5 types of hair
color which are
Usually comes in the form of
rinses, gels, mousses and sprays and majority of these products do not
penetrate or modify the structure of the hair shaft. They work like surface
paint as the molecules usually stay on the outer surface of the hair. In most
cases, you can usually wash the color
off immediately with a single shampooing. If you just want to experiment
with a different hair color, or color for some occasion temporary hair dyes
might be the safest and least harmful way to go for.
A harsher but less invasive way to change your hair color is to use
semi permanent dyes. Instead of staying on the surface of our hair, semi
permanent dyes contain smaller molecules
which will penetrate through your hair shaft and stay there for a longer
period of time. Usually it will take around 6 to 10 shampoos to get the hair color out. Semi permanents do not require the use of oxidization
agents like ammonia or paroxide and the color change is less impressive for
dark colored hair.
Demi-permanent hair Dyes: contains
no ammonia but is mixed with the developer (peroxide) shortly before
application. The developer helps lift the cuticle so that the colour can be
deposited outside and inside the cuticle and on the cortex. The molecules of demi-permanent hair
colours are very small and they are
therefore gradually washed out from the cortex, lasting about 15-20 shampoos.
Frequent use of permanent
dyes is the harshest way you should
treat your hair. There are a myriad range of strong chemicals found in permanent dyes that helps the color to
stay in. Permanent hair dyes are divided into 2 categories
To permanently change your hair color, you will require the use of dye intermediates like PPD and a
developer containing hydrogen peroxide for oxidization. Both of these
are mixed together before application and the chemicals will cause your
hair cuticle to swell so that the coloring agents can easily penetrate
through. Once inside your hair shaft, the agent will break up your original color pigments
known as melanin and replaces it with the new color. In most cases,
the color change is very permanent.
Progressive Hair Colorants
A progressive hair dye is another kind of permanent dye that changes your original hair color
gradually by regular application. The dye contains metallic salts or organic compounds like lead acetate,bismuth
citrate or 5,6-dihydroxyindolinewhich can easily absorb into your hair shaft and react with
the structure of your hair. Over time, the lead will replace the color of your hair
with the new color.
The Dangers in Hair
The most common and
potent ingredient commonly known to cause allergic reactions well known carcinogen
(cancer causing agent) after oxidation with the developer like Hydrogen
Peroxide or Ammonia. non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Multiple myeloma, Breast Cancer, Leukemia,
used for progressive dyes that change your
hair color gradually, is banned from cosmetics in the European Union and is a
potential carcinogen. Lead is said to be able to disrupt the function of your
brain's neurotransmitters and might also
sensory and motor developments
you are pregnant, then avoid lead products totally because it has been reported
to be able to cross the placenta and the embryo that can lead to fetal
mortality. That is why lead in the first place was banned from so many products
Other Health Risks
in Hair Coloring
linked with causing immune system problems.
Widely used in fertilizers, plastics and explosives, ammonia is toxic and
corrosive. This chemical can cause running nose, coughing and respiratory
problems if inhaled, skin inflammations.
used for oxidation and is an irritant and also a potential carcinogen.
Reduce Your Risk
Ecocolors or some
other natural hair dyes like henna that do not contain harmful chemicals. Some high end
salons also use high tech equipment like infrared to open up the hair shaft for
the color to absorb through rather than using oxidizers like peroxides and