Grey hair can give you a distinguished appearance, but not all of us are endowed with the good looks or charisma of George Clooney! Premature graying of your hair can be quite a bother, especially when all you have going for you is your youthful appearance. Graying is a natural part of the aging process however and like wrinkles we accept these changes, albeit grudgingly. Premature graying is hard to deal with however, and while some individuals may welcome it, most view it as a problem.
So how do you know if you're just getting old or if you're faced with premature graying? Graying is a part of the aging process, but it isn't associated with old age. Some of the healthiest athletic adults in their thirties or even in their forties could be more youthful and fit as compared to adults in their twenties, despite the differences in hair color. In the context of age-associated graying Caucasians start to lose their hair color the earliest, with graying typically beginning in the late twenties and early thirties. Asians are only affected by graying towards their late thirties, while Africans usually remain unaffected by graying until their mid forties. Whether your condition of graying is natural or premature will therefore depend largely on your race.
The symptoms of premature graying of hair are fairly obvious. Graying of the hair is unlikely to go unnoticed and if you find that graying begins while you're still in your twenties or early thirties it could be premature graying; this naturally depends on your race.
The high stress job and inept boss may certainly be contributing to your heart problems, obesity, depression and anxiety, but unfortunately for you cannot blame your gray hair on your job! Contrary to popular belief graying is not caused by stress. While we can explain the process by which graying of the hair occurs, the causes are not as certain. In recent years however, our understanding premature graying of the hair has become a lot clearer.
Keep in mind that hair does not take on a gray hue; it simply appears to be gray. Graying of the hair occurs as your hair starts to lose its natural color. The gray appearance of your hair is actually just a result of the combination of pigmented and unpigmented hair. In the hair of a healthy young adult, melanocytes that are present in the hair follicles produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives your hair its color. As you age melanocytes stop producing this pigment and your hair is simply white. The mixture of white and black hairs takes on the collective appearance of being gray.
Unfortunately this is the extent of our understanding of how melanocytes work and until we understand more there is little that can be done to reverse or prevent hair from graying. This said, there are conditions other than age to which premature graying of the hair has been linked. These include:
It has been noted that in some cases people who experienced premature graying observed a return of hair color following treatment with X-ray therapy. This indicated that with a better understanding of the working of melanocytes. With subsequent studies scientists may have finally solved the mystery of graying hair. According to findings published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology melanocyte apoptosis and DNA damage may be caused by reactive oxygen species, and the resultant accumulation of hydrogen peroxide actually causes hair to get bleached from within!
While you may come across numerous claims of natural cures for graying of hair, there is little truth to these claims and they are almost always fraudulent. There is no known natural remedy for premature graying of the hair that actually works. Natural remedies can help to darken hair thereby hiding the color loss, but they cannot reverse or prevent graying.
Until there is greater evidence supporting natural alternatives as a treatment for premature graying hair it would be best to rely on conventional approaches. In the meantime you could also try using cosmetic methods to conceal gray hair:
In the vast majority of cases, dietary modifications will do little to reverse or restrict premature graying of the hair. Your diet only contributes to the problem insofar that your nutrition affects every aspect of your health, and healthy hair requires nourishment as well. This said gray hair is typically not a sign of ill health; it is simply a natural part of the aging process.
If you wish to make any dietary modifications to deal with premature graying it would be best to simply turn to a healthy balanced diet that includes every food group providing you with all your nutritional requirements. Contact a nutritionist or dietician for a specialized diet plan suited to your activity levels and biological requirements.
Till recent times there has been little that one could do to address premature graying, apart from concealing gray hair with cosmetic techniques. Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of graying of the hair do offer us a lot of hope, and it is very likely that the technology to reverse and control the problem will soon be widely accessible. Until that time the best thing to do would be to try natural methods of concealing gray hair if it bothers you. While stress may not be a cause for premature graying, worrying never did anyone any good; stress can in fact contribute to various other health disorders, so try not get worked up about a few gray hairs.