We frequently classify the skin on our bodies into different skin tones or, more generally, skin colours. Melanin is the determining factor in this. Have you ever wondered how our hair gets its natural colour? The presence of Melanin determines this. A dermatologist is the best person who can educate more about Melanin in the hair and how to address the loss of Melanin, which results in greying hair.   

In general, Melanin is a natural pigment that provides your hair colour. Melanocytes, specialised cells that create this pigment, are responsible for its production. They are located in the hair follicles or hair roots that are located below the skin’s surface, which is your scalp. This implies that if you are dealing with greying hair, it is feasible to acquire knowledge on how to increase Melanin in hair.  

As the hair grows, the melanocyte cells actively inject pigment (Melanin) into keratin-containing cells. Prior to birth and during the majority of your life, Melanin is formed in your hair. The amount, kind of melanin hair care and distribution of it in the cortex, which is the middle layer of the hair shaft, affects our hair’s natural colour. It’s fascinating to observe that our hair is white before it leaves the surface of the scalp. However, when hair strands gradually expand, melanocytes step in to transport Melanin into hair cells, giving your hair its dark colour.  

Many forms of Melanin in hair:  

There are only two types of pigments in the hair, dark (eumelanin) and light (pheomelanin), as correctly noted by a dermatologist. A variety of hair colours can be created by combining the two pigments or melanocyte cells. Eumelanin and pheomelanin give natural hair its deeper pigments like black, dark brown, or brunette, and lighter pigments like light brown, yellow, golden blonde, red, ginger, or white, respectively, can be easily distinguished.  

Genes, hormones, and even age are internal variables that predominately affect hair colour. Some examples of external or environmental elements that can impact hair colour include climate, pollution, and chemical exposure.  

Causes of melanin loss in hair:  

A crucial component of our hair is Melanin. It guards against the sun’s damaging UV rays and keeps them from drying out and breaking. This explains why grey hair with relatively low melanin levels frequently has a brittle texture. As one gets older, the strength of the melanocytes’ (Melanin) synthesis decreases. And as you would have guessed, when one’s hair continues to absorb dark melanin pigments, it gradually becomes weaker and eventually turns white. In general, there are a few significant variables that contribute to melanin loss in the hair.  

Here’s a list to determine it:   

1. Age:  

Men’s hair begins to grey around the age of 30, while women’s hair takes a little longer to do so, roughly up until the age of 35, according to experts in the field of derma. But age is not the sole factor in the whitening of black hair. As previously noted, diet-related factors and some environmental factors are connected to the loss of Melanin in the hair.  

2. Genetic  

Then there is the widespread condition known as premature ageing or hair greying, which is caused by melanin loss in the hair and can affect anyone, even young children. Premature greying (or whitening) of the hair is typically autoimmune and genetic in origin.  

3. Hair products with chemicals  

Greying or thinning hair can be caused by using harsh chemical-based products on your hair. Avoid substances like SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), parabens, alcohol, silicones, and artificial colours. It might be found in products like shampoos, conditioners, masks, and others. Hair greying is also a result of another dangerous chemical, hydrogen peroxide, which is frequently used as a hair bleaching product and works by destroying the melanin cells in the hair.  

4. Diets  

According to Ayurveda, our body possesses one of the three doshas—vata, kapha, or pitta. To keep their balance, individuals need to eat a modest meal with various flavours, including sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy, and astringent. A lack of taste or excessive consumption is alarming for your skin and hair. It is advisable to include melanin-rich foods for hair in your diet. Some nutritional inadequacies, such as vitamin B12 insufficiency, iron and copper inadequacy, and severe protein malnutrition, are connected to premature hair greying.”  

5. Hormonal and skin disorders  

Greying hair may also be caused by vitiligo. Due to the loss or death of melanocyte cells, it is a skin disorder that causes white spots on otherwise healthy-looking skin. Grey hair can also result from a decrease in the production of melanocytes in the hair, which can be brought on by menopause, changes in thyroid hormone levels, or a thyroid condition. In such cases, figuring out how to increase Melanin in hair naturally will solve your hair-related issues.    

6. Smoking  

Smoking is one of the leading causes of hair ageing, according to numerous research. In addition to harming hair follicles, smoking is known to constrict blood vessels in the body, which reduces blood flow to the hair follicles and hinders the generation of Melanin, which results in grey hair.   

Foods that enhance hair melanin production  

It is important to remember that every person must experience the phase of having white hair at some point in time; this cannot be prevented because it is normal and results from ageing. However, eating balanced meals that support the health of your body and skin is a surefire approach to preserving the strength of your hair and preventing early ageing.  

  • To protect your cells from free radical damage and boost melanin production in the hair, add foods high in antioxidants to your regular diet, such as dark chocolate, berries, and green vegetables.  
  • Copper-rich foods like different types of nuts, mushrooms, and beef liver also encourage the production of follicular Melanin.  
  • Your hair can be healthier if you consume foods high in vitamins A, C, and E, including carrots, papaya, eggs, citrus fruits, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and pistachios.  
  • It has been discovered that the vitamins B6 and B12 encourage the creation of enzymes in hair follicles that speed up the metabolism of hair proteins (keratin and Melanin). While cobalamin, a form of vitamin B12, encourages the creation of healthy red blood cells, which in turn helps the hair grow. Therefore, raising the Melanin in the hair by including possibilities like beetroot, broccoli, sprouts, eggs, salmon, cheese, soy products, and starchy vegetables work well.