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Best Ways to Reverse Gray Hair, Say Experts

Put away the hair dye! Here's several ways to get rid of gray hair naturally, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Having gray hair is a normal part of life and it's common to see our hair turn gray as we age. While it's nothing to be shameful about, if covering gray hair is something you'd prefer, a trip to the salon may no longer be necessary. According to experts Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with, there are plenty of home remedies, vitamins and lifestyle changes that can help get rid of the gray naturally. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Why Hair Turns Gray

Closeup sad asian woman showing her gray hair.
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Hair expert Ghanima Abdullah explains, "Melanin is responsible for giving our hair its color via the pigmentation cells called melanocytes. According to scientists, our bodies have some sort of 'melanocyte clock' that regulates when our hair turns white. Our clocks tick at different rates depending on whether they're influenced by genetic factors or external influences. These following things can help prevent your hair from turning gray."

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2

When Gray Hair Commonly Appears

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Dr. Jae Pak, M.D., of Jae Pak Medical says, "The 30s is a great time for people to start fighting against going gray. This is when a person's first gray hairs commonly emerge, but it can happen earlier or later. The single most important thing a person can do to get ahead of graying is to get control of their stress levels. We already know that stress can wreak havoc on all bodily systems, and that includes the hair follicles. While many have seen trauma-related graying as a myth in the past, science actually proves the legitimacy of this theory."

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3

Mind-Body Connection to Gray Hair

woman relaxing on beach, ocean view, Vacation Outdoors Seascape
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"An eLife study that was published last year profiled hair pigmentation patterns and quantified timescales of rapid graying transitions," Dr. Pak states. "One test subject experienced graying when they went through a painful separation, while gray strands of another's hair reverted back to its natural color during a relaxing, two-week vacation. This is pretty compelling scientific evidence that proves the significance of the mind-body connection."

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4

Get Rid of Stress

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According to Dr. Pak, "If a person regularly experiences a great deal of stress in their life, it's essential that they get it under control, even if it means seeking professional therapy. If psychological stress is causing hairs to lose pigmentation, imagine the invisible impacts it's likely having on the internal organs as well."

Abdullah adds, "Gray hair could be due to an inflammatory reaction to stress instead of simply age. Stress causes hair to grow grayer sooner because inflammation interferes with the normal pigmentation process. Not having good sleep habits could also contribute to stress. Not sleeping well also triggers an inflammatory response, which may lead to early graying."

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5

Eat Better or Take Supplements

Natural sources of vitamin D and Calcium
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"Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may cause premature graying, so check first if you're lacking any vitamins or minerals — specifically vitamins D and B12," Abdullah says. "Taking nutritional supplements may be helpful, but they won't replace good nutrition. Vitamin D can be found in foods like salmon, milk, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is found in both fish and meat, including beef liver and nutritional yeast (also known as brewer's yeast)."

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6

Use Hair Products that Contain Antioxidants

Closeup of a woman brushing her hair with comb and using conditioner.
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Abdullah explains, "Free radical damage occurs when there aren't enough antioxidants present in our bodies to neutralize them before they cause harm. As a result, there is increased oxidative stress and cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress may affect melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for producing pigment. To treat oxidative stress, use hair care products that contain antioxidant vitamins like vitamins C, E and A."

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7

Stop Smoking

Mature woman with sore throat, standing in living room at home.
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According to Abdullah, "There are different causes for the problem of premature graying in smokers.

  • Smoking can cause low levels of vitamin D because cigarettes contain nicotine that dampens vitamin D levels.
  • Smoking can affect the immune system.
  • Cigarettes contain chemicals that can be irritating to the skin and scalp.
  • Smoking increases inflammation, which may lead to early graying."

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8

Use Products with UV Protection

Woman covering face by hand of bright sun light.
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"Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause an increase in reactive oxygen species on the scalp," Abdullah says. "They cause cells to die by reacting with their DNA and protein structures. Because of this, there is less melanin production, which results in gray hairs appearing, especially for people who have thinner hair and whose scalp is exposed to sunlight."

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9

Use Natural Products that Contain Few Chemical Ingredients

woman with protective mask reading label on the bottle while buying hand soap in the supermarket during virus epidemic
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Abdullah states, "Hair dyes and other hair care products often contain harmful chemicals, which can lead to premature graying of hair. Most personal care products are largely unregulated, so there may be unknown risks associated with them. One way to avoid using harmful combinations is by choosing products with fewer ingredients. Bleaching agents used to lighten hair color contain hydrogen peroxide, which is an extremely toxic chemical. Using bleach eventually makes the hair grow whiter."

10

Home Remedies

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In addition to managing stress and consuming the right vitamins, there are a few home remedies Dr. Mya Bellinger recommends trying. 

  • Drink carrot juice daily
  • Apply coconut oil to your scalp every night and wash it in the morning
  • Apply ghee to your scalp 
  • Apply onion juice to the scalp and wash after 1/2 an hour. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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