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.