On my 30th birthday, I got a lovely surprise from Mother Nature when I looked in the mirror. I was aging alright, and the gray hair I just found sticking straight out, long, wiry, and completely unavoidable from my head, was definitely saying so!
You gotta love how once you see the first one they seem to just keep on coming and never stop, only getting worse, making you wish you had suddenly found the fountain of youth.
Yep, age has a way of catching up to you quickly and the gray hairs don’t lie! You can pluck and dye all you want, but they are absolutely unavoidable!
Most people in their mid-thirties – to forties will start to see some grays pop up. It actually has nothing to do with stress. Hair instead, naturally begins to go gray when color-producing cells stop producing pigment. Hydrogen Peroxide also naturally begins to build up in the hair as we age, causing it to have a bleaching effect- which shows up as those nasty gray hairs.
However, contrary to what most people believe about gray hair and genetics (while genetics does play a role), there are actually steps you can take to avoid going gray early!
Tips to Avoid Going Gray Early:
1. Fill up on Calcium and get your regular workouts in! Some studies have shown that low bone-density has been associated with going gray earlier on. Working out regularly and getting your calcium can help bones become stronger and more dense, hopefully, in turn keeping that pesky gray hair from showing up too early!
2. Get your Vitamins! A Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to going gray early on, according to WebMD. If you’re vegetarian like I am, make sure you get this vitamin, as it is often found in animal proteins. Be sure to take the drops or the supplements that sit under your tongue and dissolve, as taking a capsule or tablet is not as efficient.
3. Get a doctor checkup. Having a malfunctioning pituitary gland or thyroid gland has also been linked with premature graying. An underactive thyroid can be linked to weight gain and having cold hands and feet are also a common symptom, so if you think your thyroid may be the problem, visit your doctor to have it checked out!
4. Put down the cigarettes! There is significant evidence to show that smoking can actually lead to premature graying (along with a whole lot of other health and skincare aging problems!)
5. Eat Healthfully! There actually is a certain kind of stress that can cause those grays to come in earlier than normal, and it’s called oxidative stress and it’s related to environment pollutants and poor diet. While we can’t always do much about the environment, we CAN watch what we eat! Here are some foods that have been shown to stop hair from turning gray: Walnuts, mushrooms, oysters, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, lentils, spirulina, chicken, and prawns. Avoid refined sugar, soda, and flour as much as possible.
6. Massage Scalp with egg oil. Twice a week, whip up some eggs, massage it into the scalp, cover with a shower cap and leave it on your hair overnight. Egg contains antioxidants, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which have been shown to stop premature grays from coming in and can even reverse it if you already have some gray hair! Butter also has a similar effect and can be used as a hair mask once or twice a week as well.
7. Get some sunshine! Sun contains Vitamin D (and so do hair follicles). Getting an ample amount of vitamin D has been shown to keep hair healthy and strong!
8. Shampoo less often. Hair loses moisture as we age and shampoo can be drying. Stick to washing only 2-3 times a week, and always condition hair whenever it is washed!
9. Kick the Coffee Habit. Caffeine, along with alcohol and other dehydrating drinks can actually speed up the graying process, so limit your drinks or kick the coffee habit altogether!
10. Speaking of hydration, drink your water! Water keeps skin (and hair!) Hydrated! And hydrated hair helps nutrients reach the follicles easier, making it healthier, stronger, and less likes to gray!
Unfortunately, we can’t completely stop the graying so at some age (for me it’s my mid-thirties), so you might have to bring in the big guns! If you can’t beat it, hide it! Hair coloring and highlights are a great way to cover the grays naturally. I’ve been highlighting my light brown hair blonde for the least year and a half now, and have found that I barely even notice or see any grays come in at all now!
Remember, good health is key for great hair, no matter if it’s gray or not. Eat right, exercise, kick the bad habits, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated and not only will your skin keep it’s natural hair color for hopefully a bit longer, but you’ll also see many more better hair days in the meantime!
What’s your trick to preventing the grays? How soon did you notice the grays? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!