10 Causes Of White Hair And 12 Ways To Prevent It Naturally

Reviewed by Dr.K.Harish Kumar, MD.DVL
by Anjali Sayee

One of the most vexing outcomes of modern lifestyle is white hair. Nothing matches the dread you feel at the appearance of your first white strand. You know that there will be more to follow, and you look for remedies and treatments that might stop the inevitable. Know how to get rid of white hair.

The occurrence of white hair with old age is obvious. But when you notice them in your early 30s and sometimes, even 20s, it’s absolutely disheartening. Both gray and white hair are the result of your hair losing its pigment. When there is a significant reduction in the pigment, the hair turns gray. When there is absolutely no pigment present, it turns white. The exact cause of this is yet to be discovered. In this article, we have listed a few remedies for reversing white hair growth.

What Causes White Hair?

Hair growth happens when old cells are pushed out by the hair follicles due to the production of new cells. It occurs in three stages – growth (anagen), cessation (catagen), and rest (telogen). During the rest period, your hair reaches its lifespan and falls out, and a new strand grows in its place. Hair color is produced by melanin, which is formed by melanocytes. Pigmentation in hair, unlike in skin, is not continuous. The hair is actively pigmented in the anagen phase. Pigmentation reduces in the catagen phase and is absent in the telogen phase (1).

With age, the amount of pigment that is injected into each strand of hair gets reduced, which is why it turns gray and eventually white. In the section below know how to stop white hair and factors causing white hair and how to prevent white hair

Early-onset of gray hair occurs due to the following factors:

1. Genes

Dr. K. Harish Kumar, MD, DVL, says, “Genes are the predominant factor in determining at what age your hair loses pigment.” For some people, it can happen even before they turn 20. For others, the first strands of white appear rather late (1).

2. Deficiency Of Melanin

In most of the cases, a deficiency of melanin is the leading cause of hair whitening. The production of melanin depends on appropriate nutrition and protein supplements. The lack of these nutrients causes melanin to fall below acceptable levels (2).

3. Hormones

Research suggests that an imbalance in hormones can trigger or increase premature graying of hair (1), (3). If you have excess graying of hair and aren’t sure if you have a hormonal imbalance, please consult a doctor.

4. Medical Conditions

Certain underlying medical conditions can trigger a loss of pigment in your hair. PGH is also triggered by autoimmune diseases like vitiligo, pernicious anemia, thyroid diseases, and premature aging syndromes (4).

5. Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency

Deficiency in iron, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, and selenium may also cause the whitening of hair follicles. Deficiencies of Vitamin B12 and folic acid with lower levels of biotin were found in people having premature graying of hair (5).

6. Stress

Emotional stress also plays a role here. Studies have shown that the oxidative load caused by psychological stress can trigger premature graying of hair (1).

7. Chemicals

Sometimes, the use of chemical-based shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, etc. may directly cause this problem. However, it can result from some allergic infections as well.

8. Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress can cause premature graying. It is caused due to an overproduction of oxidants in the body, which are also affected by extrinsic factors like ultraviolet (UV) rays, pollution, emotional factors, or inflammatory causes (2).

9. Smoking

Studies have shown that smoking is one of the major factors leading to premature graying of hair. Smoking causes reactive oxygen species damage to hair follicle melanocytes, which leads to premature graying (1).

10. Hydrogen Peroxide

The hair follicles produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which gets accumulated overtime on the hair shafts. It bleaches the hair and causes it to turn gray, and eventually white (6). Removing this build-up may help your hair regain its natural color.

Can You Get Rid Of White Hair?

Whether or not hair graying can be reversed to help white hair turn black largely depends on the cause of graying. If genetics are responsible, there is not much one can do to reverse the change.

If the cause is an underlying health problem, consulting a doctor to see what can be done is the best course of action. Once the problem is treated, it may help restore pigment to your hair. However, this cannot be guaranteed.

Re-pigmentation is sometimes possible after hormone therapy treatment. Another way to promote pigmentation is by taking shots or pills of vitamin B12. You can also try the natural remedies mentioned below and know how to reduce white hair.

Natural Remedies To Reduce White (Gray) Hair

1. Indian Gooseberry And Coconut Oil

Indian gooseberry (amla) has a rich reserve of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and has anti-aging benefits and revitalizes the pigment in your hair follicles (7). Coconut oil penetrates through the hair shaft and reduces protein loss. This improves hair health (8).

You Will Need

  • 3-5 Indian gooseberries
  • 1 cup of coconut oil

Process

  1. Boil 3-4 Indian gooseberries with one cup of coconut oil to prepare an oil solution.
  2. Store this oil in a jar and take about two tablespoons for each use.
  3. Massage the oil into your scalp and work it through the length of your hair.
  4. After massaging for about 15 minutes, leave the oil on for an additional 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can leave the oil in overnight.
  5. Wash off with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-4 times a week.

2. Black Tea

Black tea is rich in antioxidants (9). These antioxidants can help prevent free radical damage to hair, and thus, premature graying. It also helps darken hair color while adding shine. Black tea is also known to help relieve stress (10). As discussed, stress is a contributing factor to premature graying of hair.

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of black tea
  • 1 cup of water

Process

  1. Boil two tablespoons of black tea in a cup of water until it is well brewed.
  2. Set the brew aside to cool.
  3. Strain the liquid and apply it to your hair and scalp.
  4. Massage your scalp for a couple of minutes and wait for about an hour with the tea in your hair.
  5. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

3. Curry Leaves And Coconut Oil

Curry leaves are popularly used to retain and maintain natural hair tone and prevent premature graying of hair (11). Coconut oil can penetrate the hair follicles to nourish the hair right from the root and promote hair growth (8).

You Will Need

  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Process

  1. Boil a handful of curry leaves with 3 tbsps of coconut oil to prepare an oil solution.
  2. Set the oil aside to cool.
  3. Once it has cooled, strain the oil and massage it into your scalp and work it through the length of your hair.
  4. After massaging for about 15 minutes, leave the oil on for an additional 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can leave the oil in overnight.
  5. Wash off with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

4. Lemon Juice And Coconut Oil

Lemon contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and prevent hair damage (12). However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that lemon juice can reverse the graying of hair. Coconut oil nourishes your hair and promotes hair growth (8).

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Process

  1. Pour two teaspoons of lemon juice into two tablespoons of coconut oil and heat the mixture for a couple of seconds until it is slightly warm.
  2. Massage this mixture into your scalp and work it down to the tips of your hair.
  3. Leave it on for about 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2 times a week.

5. Castor Oil With Coconut Oil

Castor oil boosts blood circulation to the follicles. It contains omega-6 essential fatty acids that promote hair health and hair darkening (13).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of castor oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Process

  1. Combine one tablespoon of castor oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil and heat the blend for a couple of minutes until it is slightly warm.
  2. Massage this oil mixture onto your scalp and work it down to the tips of your hair.
  3. After massaging your scalp for about 15 minutes, leave it on for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

6. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is rich in B vitamins and saponins that prevent hair loss (14). It is popularly used to preserve the natural hair color, prevent dandruff, and keep the hair silky (15).

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 cup of water

Process

  1. Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in a quarter cup of water overnight.
  2. In the morning, grind the seeds with enough water to get a smooth, consistent paste.
  3. Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp and leave it on for about 45 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

1-2 times a week.

7. Onion Juice And Olive Oil

A study indicated that onion juice might help reduce hair fall and aid hair regrowth in a few people (16). Onion juice also contains catalase that can help reduce hydrogen peroxide build-up on your hair and scalp, thus helping reverse graying and improving the health of your hair. However, the only drawback to using this remedy is that it is hard to get the onion smell out of your hair. Olive oil is an emollient and conditions your hair (17).

You Will Need

  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • t tablespoon of olive oil
  • A cheesecloth

Process

  1. Chop a medium-sized onion into small pieces and blend it with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Squeeze the juice out of the pulp using a cheesecloth.
  3. Apply this juice onto your scalp and massage for about 10 minutes.
  4. Leave the juice on for an additional 30-35 minutes.
  5. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and condition.

How Often?

2 times a week.

8. Henna And Coffee

Henna helps cover up the appearance of white hair by adding rich reddish tones to your hair due to the presence of lawsone (18). Coffee is another popular hair colorant that can impart a reddish-brown to blackish-brown tinge to your hair.

Note: Ensure that you are using pure henna powder as some powders contain chemicals.

You Will Need

  • 5 tablespoons of henna powder
  • 1 tablespoon of coffee
  • 1 cup of water

Process

  1. Brew one tablespoon of coffee in a cup of water.
  2. Add five tablespoons of henna powder to the brew, stirring as you do to avoid lumps.
  3. Apply this mixture to your scalp and hair and leave it on for about 3-4 hours.
  4. Rinse with warm water and a mild sulfate-free shampoo.

How Often?

Once every three weeks.

9. Sage Leaves

Sage leaves help in preserving the color of your hair and prevent graying. In some cases, they also help restore pigment to white hair patches (17).

You Will Need

  • A handful of sage leaves
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Process

  1. Boil a handful of sage leaves in water until it is well brewed.
  2. Let the concoction cool and then collect the liquid in a spray bottle.
  3. Spritz your hair until all of your hair is saturated with the sage tea.
  4. Leave the tea on for about 2 hours.
  5. Wash the sage solution out of your hair with a mild shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

10. Ridge Gourd And Coconut Oil

Ridge gourd can help restore natural hair pigment and prevent premature graying of hair (19). Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft and nourishes your hair (8).

You Will Need

  • 1/2 cup of chopped and dried ridge gourd
  • 1 cup of coconut oil

Process

  1. Soak half a cup of chopped and dried ridge gourd in a cup of coconut oil in an airtight jar for about 3-4 days.
  2. After 4 days, take about two tablespoons of the oil and heat it until it is slightly warm.
  3. Massage the oil into your scalp and then work it down to the tips of your hair.
  4. After massaging your hair for about 15 minutes, leave the oil on for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

11. Sesame Seed Oil And Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most penetrative hair oils with a rich source of fatty acids that help condition your hair (8). In combination with sesame seed oil, it helps promote melanocyte activity, ensuring that each strand is deeply pigmented. Sesame seed oil also helps darken the color of your hair with regular use (17).

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Hot towel

Process

  1. Combine two tablespoons each of sesame seed oil and coconut oil and heat the mixture until it is slightly warm.
  2. Apply the oil onto your scalp and then work it through the length of your hair.
  3. After massaging for about 15 minutes, cover your hair with a hot towel, and leave the oil in for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2-3 times a week.

12. Indian Gooseberry And Hibiscus Flower

This mask helps strengthen and nourish your hair follicles to maintain scalp health and boost healthy hair growth. Hibiscus helps prevent premature graying while also conditioning your hair, making it manageable (17).

You Will Need

  • 3 tablespoons of crushed hibiscus leaves and flowers
  • 3 tablespoons of amla powder
  • Water

Process

  1. Blend the hibiscus paste with amla powder to get a smooth paste. You can add a little water to the mixture to ensure that the paste is smooth and consistent.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and work it down to the tips of your hair.
  3. Leave the mask on for about 45 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo and finish with conditioner.

How Often?

2 times a week.

In addition to following the remedies listed above, you can also follow these tips to reduce gray hair.

Tips For Reducing Gray Hair

1. Increase Intake Of Vitamin B12

Your hair could be turning white due to a deficiency of vitamin B12 (5). If this is the case, reversing the graying process could be as simple as consuming sufficient amounts of the vitamin.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes pernicious anemia, and your hair losing its pigment is a symptom of the condition. This condition can be reversed by maintaining a balanced diet that is giving you the right amounts of the vitamin.

2. Increase Intake of Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 is known to help prevent the early onset of graying hair and restore its natural color (20). It also aids hair growth, gives hair proper moisture, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Consume foods rich in vitamin B5 like mushrooms, beef liver, eggs, whole grains, broccoli, sunflower seeds, etc. (21).

3. Keep The Thyroid Levels In Check

Your thyroid gland has an impact on all the vital functions of your body. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can result in premature white hair (3). It is necessary to monitor your thyroid levels to be aware if it is causing the loss of pigment in your hair.

Hypothyroidism is a serious chronic condition and might require hormone supplementation. Certain foods can interfere with the working of your thyroid gland. To keep your thyroid levels in check, keep tabs on your diet.

4. Quit Smoking

Your lifestyle has a huge influence on the health and color of your hair. Smoking has adverse effects on your body and could be contributing to white hair (1). A study determined that smokers have a higher chance of their hair losing pigment than non-smokers (22).

5. Load Up On Antioxidants

Your diet may help prevent the occurrence of white hair. Make sure that you consume enough antioxidant-rich foods.

6. Protect Your Hair From UV Rays

One of the extrinsic factors of oxidative stress is UV rays, which lead to premature graying of hair. Make sure you protect your hair when going out in the sun with a scarf or hat. There are a number of heat protection products that protect hair follicles from the harmful sun rays.

7. Foods To Eat To Reduce White Hair

If you are graying due to a vitamin B12 deficiency, you should consume more seafood, eggs, and meat, including pork, beef, and lamb. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are good sources as well. Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet can opt for supplements or products that are enriched with vitamin B12 after consulting their doctor.

Also, consume antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, grapes, green leafy vegetables, and green tea.

Here’s a list of foods that can help aid hair growth and delay premature graying of hair (20):

  • Berries – They are rich in vitamin C.
  • Meat liver – Combats anemia and iron deficiencies.
  • Carrots – Rich in vitamin A.
  • Curry leaves – Rich in the B vitamins and minerals such as selenium, iodine, zinc, and iron.
  • Spinach – Helps in the production of melanin.
  • Eggs – Rich in vitamin B12.
  • Beans – Rich source of protein.
  • Sunflower seeds – Rich in antioxidants and minerals.
  • Walnuts – Rich source of copper, which helps in melanin production.

Can White Hair Turn Black Again?

A 2016 mice study targeted molecular pathways that control hair pigmentation to restore color. The mice exhibited growth of melanocytes that form melanin in the skin and hair. The discovery suggested that developing a drug or other therapy to target these pathways may help bring back some color to gray tresses (23).

With the right diagnosis and treatments, graying can be reversed, and white hair can turn black. But if the problem is genetic or age-related, it is unlikely to reverse the process. It is possible, however, to slow it down with a balanced diet and a good hair care regimen.

It is natural for your hair to lose its pigmentation, and it’s up to you if you want to color it or display it in all of its glory. The consistent use of these remedies can help slow and reverse hair fall and graying of hair. They may work gradually, but with patience, you will see visible results. We hope you have learned how to control white hair. Try and let us know your opinion in the comment section below.

23 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.
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