Many holistic regimens start with maintaining a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. So you might ask, how would that apply to preventing gray hair? Well, being overweight or underweight can disrupt hormonal balance, which can impact hair growth and lead to premature graying. Early graying could also be caused by genetic factors or exposure to harsh hair styling or chemicals, as they can also damage hair follicles and impact hair growth.
Something you could do prior to the arrival of those unwanted grays is determine if you are predisposed to early graying due to genetic factors or due to deficiencies. The are several options available to find out if deficiencies are the cause. Having a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is an excellent place to start.
HTMA checks for 20 minerals and toxic metals in your hair. The benefits of HTMA are not only can it inform you of the imbalances of minerals in your hair but it can also help determine which vitamins and minerals you need to rebalance your body chemistry. HTMA can also uncover biochemical imbalances that may be causing fatigue and other health issues, like thyroids which can cause patchy hair loss or thinning hair.
If the test determines that there are imbalances, you can then add the required nutrients to your diet, such as foods high in iron as well as supplements that will ensure you have adequate levels of Vitamin D3 and B12 because deficiencies in either of these may accelerate graying. However, the HTMA will let you know exactly what minerals and vitamins are needed.
If early graying is a genetic factor, you can make a few easy lifestyle changes that will allow you to hold on to your hued hair longer. You can consider biotin and some of the B vitamins, B5, B9 and B12. You can manage your stress level by incorporating some exercise into your schedule. You can also look into some traditional Ayurvedic herbs, one well-known and associated with gray hair is henna. These things may delay the gray. However, your hair-graying process is out of your hands (thanks, to our mothers and fathers).
Studies conducted have identified DNA damage and a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the follicles as possible causes of disruption in melanin production. Without melanin, the new hair that grows has no pigment, which makes it appear gray, white or silver. This can be remedied by deep conditioning weekly with a hydrating hair mask to nourish your brittle strands and make them look and feel healthier. This will not turn your gray hair back black, but it will prevent or at least slow the graying process.
In addition to the mentioned approaches, there are other natural remedies that can complement your efforts in preventing gray hair. For instance, incorporating antioxidant-rich foods like berries, spinach and green tea into your diet can help combat oxidative stress, which plays a role in hair graying. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can damage hair follicles and melanin production, thus promoting healthier hair.
Furthermore, regular scalp massages with essential oils like rosemary or lavender can stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles and encourage hair growth. These oils also have properties that may help maintain hair pigmentation. Additionally, avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight and environmental pollutants can be beneficial, as they can accelerate hair aging and graying. Protecting your hair with hats or scarves when outdoors can provide some defense against these external factors.
By adopting a holistic approach that combines healthy lifestyle choices, targeted nutrition, stress management and natural remedies, you can enhance your chances of preventing or slowing down the onset of gray hair while also promoting overall hair health and vitality. Remember that each individual’s hair journey is unique, so be patient and consistent in your efforts to maintain a healthy and vibrant mane.
At the end of the day, running from gray is not the only remedy, embracing and appreciating the inevitable silver lining in life may just be the answer.
Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.