Ex­pert Q&A


Friday - - Contents -

Com­bat­ting pre­ma­ture grey­ing nat­u­rally.

I am41 years old. Over the past cou­ple of years I’ve be­gun grey­ing quite rapidly and now I’ve no­ticed that even my eye­brows are turn­ing grey. I don’t want to use henna as that ag­gra­vates my si­nus prob­lems and I am scep­ti­cal of com­mer­cial hair dyes. What, if any­thing, could I try? NAME WITH­HELD ON RE­QUEST Hair colour is pro­duced by tiny cells called melanocytes in the hair fol­li­cles. In the course of a life­time, the ac­tiv­ity of the melanocytes in each fol­li­cle be­gins to slow down, re­sult­ing in grey hair.

The ap­pear­ance of grey hairs may be the re­sult of your ge­net­i­cally de­ter­mined mat­u­ra­tional sched­ule. Each in­di­vid­ual’s melanocyte clock is dif­fer­ent. Pre­ma­ture grey­ing has also been as­so­ci­ated with cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions such as thy­roid dis­or­ders, vi­tiligo, vitamin B12 de­fi­ciency and anaemia. So, we need to take a three-pronged ap­proach to de­ter­mine the un­der­ly­ing cause – a re­view of your fam­ily his­tory; a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion to rule out any ill­nesses; and lab tests.

Com­mer­cial hair dyes con­tain chem­i­cals that might give long-last­ing colour but can re­duce the life­span of melanocytes. As al­ter­na­tives, indigo ( In­digofera tinc­to­ria) and henna ( Law­so­nia in­er­mis) are nat­u­ral dyes. How­ever, please note, there are many prod­ucts on the mar­ket now that say they are ‘black henna’, but are, in fact, chem­i­cals.

Consult an ayurvedic doc­tor for a de­tailed di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment. In the mean­time, try ap­ply­ing Kan­jun­nyadi keram* to your scalp be­fore you shower. Also, mas­sag­ing the scalp with beetroot juice could pre­vent pre­ma­ture grey­ing. Lastly, in­clude dark green, orange and yel­low fruit and veg­eta­bles in your diet. Cau­li­flower, pars­ley, wheat, sun­flower seeds, apri­cots, whole grains, soy, red meat, chicken, eggs and seafood pro­vide es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents for your hair.

*Avail­able in stores sell­ing herbal prod­ucts

Dr VL Shyam, MD (Ay), MPhil, a cer­ti­fied Ayurvedic con­sul­tant, an­swers queries ex­clu­sively for read­ers of Fri­day.

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