Stop Gray Hair in its Tracks?
By Laura Carson Miller
Do you have any gray hair? And if you do, is fretting about just how to deal with it causing more to sprout forth? Are you rolling your eyes right now?
Gray hair is mostly simply a huge pain and the pain relievers used to help cope with it are often messy or costly or just not as effective as we’d like.
In an effort to better understand this potential threat to our good hair days, I spoke with Washington DC dermatologist Rebecca Kazin (the stunning woman in the above photo) about how we get gray to begin with (blame it on your catalase) and ways to deal with it once this uninvited guest settles in.
“Gray hair has lost all of its melanin so the color appears washed out,” explains Dr. Kazin. “Genetics and stress can be contributing factors, along with aging. Hydrogen peroxide, which is produced naturally in the body, interferes with melanin. The body also produces catalase, an enzyme which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. When catalase production slows down, hydrogen peroxide can build up, and our hair turns gray.”
She offered the following tips to help disguise early grays:
- Shampoo Smarter – Oil flattens hair and enhances root color irregularities. Use a dry shampoo between washes to absorb excess scalp grease and give your tresses more disguising texture.
- Deep Condition – Gray hairs tend to grow in coarse and wiry. Using an intense conditioner daily or at least a few times per week can help them lay flat and blend better with the rest of your hair.
- Part Creatively – Switch up your usual part to see what disguises grays best. Try a zig-zag part to make grays less noticeable.
- Go Lighter – Gray hair isn’t as glaring on lighter hair like blonde and red. Ask your colorist to camouflage grays with some golden highlights two to three shades lighter than your natural color.
- Pump Up the Volume – A salon blowout creates body at the root, helping to hide unsightly strays. Simply getting a regular blowout can help extend color correcting by weeks.
And because, I’m, well, me, and I try to keep it real in the beauty department as much as possible, I asked about natural home remedies that work to prevent grays all together..
Dr. Kazin shared that Vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with your pituitary or thyroid gland can cause premature graying that’s reversible if the problem is corrected. “Consider taking vitamin B12 supplements. Taking supplements isn’t guaranteed but it may give you a little extra time,” she said. “Of note, vegetarians and vegans are more likely to have a B12 deficiency because it’s hard to get enough B12 through food other than animal products.” I’m mostly vegetarian and take B12 daily. I don’t have a lot of gray hair for my age, either, and use semi-permanent wash out hair color about every three months.
Now this is really interesting. Be ready to take notes:
According to Dr. Kazin, “Some have reported benefit from application of egg oil to scalp twice a week and left on overnight. The theory behind it is egg oil contains anti-oxidant xanthophylls like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are thought to delay premature graying of hair.”
(Side note: egg oil is something you can make at home or purchase. I’m going to let you Google it. Also, please do not confuse egg oil with ant egg oil, which is a hair remover. You’re welcome.)
Dr. Kazin leaves us with this parting wisdom: “Additionally, it’s important to limit external damage to your hair. While unhealthy hair doesn’t turn gray any sooner than healthy hair, it is more likely to fall out. As you get older, when new hair grows back, it often has less pigment than the original hair.”
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