The Grey Hair Products - effective or not?
Causes of gray hair
Hair color is produced in small pigment cells inside hair follicles, which are called melanocytes. As a person grows older, the production of pigment in those cells decreases and eventually stops completely. As a result, the hair is no longer colored and becomes gray or white.
Some people find their first gray hairs very early, in their twenties, and by the time they are middle-aged their hair is almost completely white while others grow old and only have a few of them.
When a person will start having gray hair is a matter of genetics and there is no way of telling when it will happen. However, certain conditions and diseases have been associated with premature gray hair.
Those may include thyroid disorders, like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease and similar, vitamin B12 deficiency due to improper diet or problems with absorption, vitiligo, in which the skin loses melanocytes and early menopause.
Smoking is also a significant factor for premature gray hair.
In traditional medicines like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, premature graying of the hair is a sign of an underlying condition, illness or imbalance. It is believed that if those are solved, it will stop premature gray hair.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, quality of blood and kidneys is reflected in the state of hair. Foods that are used to improve blood and kidney function include nettle, hijiki seaweed, blackstrap molasses, black sesame seeds, and wheat grass.
These foods must not be taken in excessive amounts because they may have side effects. For example, seaweed contains iodine, and excessive intake of iodine can lead to thyroid problems.
Foods to avoid include meat, dairy products and salt.
He Shou Wu is a herb used in many products that claim to restore hair’s natural color. This herb is actually widely used for this purpose by the Chinese to improve blood and kidney function. It is recommended to consult a doctor or an expert in traditional Chinese medicine before using it, because it may cause certain problems if not used properly, including depression and irritability.
Most popular Ayurvedic remedies for gray hair are bringaraja and amla. Bringaraja is a herb which, if taken orally, improves liver and kidneys, and it can also be used topically on scalp. Amla is also used against inflammation and to improve eyes.