Maybe you’ve just noticed your first gray hair, or maybe you’re looking for a way to slow down gray hair growth in between colorist appointments. Either way, you’re wondering how to slow down gray hair. Is it even possible? Keep reading to find out!
What Causes Gray Hair?
Your hair is grown from the hair follicles located in your scalp. These hair follicles contain melanocytes that produce a pigment called melanin that gives hair its natural color. When we’re young, our melanocytes work efficiently to keep hair pigmented. But as we age and begin to experience aging hair, these melanocytes begin to shut off one by one. As a result, the hair that grows in is unpigmented, which means that it becomes white in appearance.
Gray hair or silver hair is actually a mix of your natural hair color plus white hair. As the graying process continues and more melanocytes stop producing pigment, the hair will eventually appear white.
How to Slow Down Gray Hair
So, is there a way to slow down gray hair? While graying is caused by genetics and natural aging, it may be possible to slow down gray hair with these lifestyle changes:
1. Take Your Vitamins
Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals have been linked to premature graying. For example, researchers1 have discovered that iron deficiencies were common in people with prematurely graying hair. You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy hair growth from the food you eat. However, many people find that adding a supplement like Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements is an easy way to make sure all your nutritional bases are covered when it comes to hair growth. Viviscal contains key vitamins and minerals for hair growth, including iron.*
2. Fight Free Radicals
Oxidative stress2 from free radicals is also thought to cause prematurely gray hair. Free radicals come from many sources, including air pollution and UV rays.
One way to combat oxidative stress is by limiting your exposure to free radicals, like wearing a hat or a hair sunscreen on sunny days. Another way is to incorporate more antioxidants into your diet. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, preventing oxidative stress, which can help to slow down gray hair. Plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables are chock full of antioxidants, so make sure to eat your veggies if you want to slow down gray hair growth!
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes3 has also been linked to premature hair graying. Thus, quitting smoking may be another way to slow down gray hair.
4. Reduce Stress
Among scientists, there is some debate4 over whether or not stress causes gray hairs. Even if reducing stress doesn’t help to slow down gray hair, practicing good stress management techniques can have other benefits for your health. A few tips to manage stress:
- Exercise regularly
- Develop a meditation practice
- Spend time in nature
- Engage in creative activities like journaling or playing music
5. Talk to Your Doctor
Premature graying can also be a symptom of certain diseases. If you’re concerned about graying hair, it might be wise to make an appointment with your doctor.
When your hair goes gray is mostly determined by the genes that you inherit from your parents. But if you want to know how to slow down gray hair, these lifestyle changes may help.
1 Chakrabarty, S., Krishnappa, P. G., Gowda, D. G., & Hiremath, J. (2016). Factors Associated with Premature Hair Graying in a Young Indian Population. International journal of trichology, 8(1), 11–14. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.179384
2 Trüeb R. M. (2009). Oxidative stress in ageing of hair. International journal of trichology, 1(1), 6–14. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.51923
3 Zayed, A. A., Shahait, A. D., Ayoub, M. N., & Yousef, A. M. (2013). Smokers’ hair: Does smoking cause premature hair graying?. Indian dermatology online journal, 4(2), 90–92. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.110586
4 Robert H. Shmerling, M. (2020, June 23). Why does hair turn gray? Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hair-turn-gray-2017091812226