Grey Hair Treatments
Reversing grey hair involves interference with our genes and resetting our internal clock since, in order to achieve reversal, it is necessary to rejuvenate dead pigment-producing cells in the hair follicles. This task is no less challenging than rejuvenating the dying hair follicles in the scalp of a balding person. Although there are various other causes of grey hair, such as thyroid imbalance, vitiligo, excessive stress, bad diet, vitamin B deficiency and smoking, all of them put together account for less grey than the single biggest cause - genetics.
Given the currently available treatment options, it appears that the greying process cannot be effectively reversed. There is no scientific evidence at the moment that any existing medicine, diet, herb, supplement or natural product can prevent or reverse greying hair. Several cosmetics and pharmaceuticals giants are working on discovering the ultimate cure for grey hair but no satisfactory solution is commercially available yet. The only current option that delivers satisfactory results is changing the colour of your existing hair. You can either use regular hair dyes or try progressive hair colorants. Unlike regular hair dyes, progressive hair colorants only affect your grey hair, changing its colour gradually and unnoticeably. But your hair follicles will continue producing white hair. Men usually prefer this option since it makes their hair look more natural, as they do not have to cover up all their grey. One interesting point about grey hair is that it is thicker and usually grows faster than normal, pigmented hair, which makes it more visible and difficult to cover.
Nonetheless, there are some traditional, anti-grey hair therapies and a couple of active substances that can be found in commercial products that claim to be effective in preventing and reversing greying hair. In this section, we take a closer look at the stories behind such claims by analysing the anti-grey hair potential of active ingredients used in commercial cures. Please refer to the subsection "Commercial Grey Hair Products" for an overview of treatments and colorants available in stores around the world and visit GreyHairLoss blog for grey hair product reviews and grey hair-related articles. You are encouraged to rate and write a consumer review on any product examined on GreyHairLoss blog, using the "REVIEW IT" button in the horizontal navigation bar.
Active Substances Used in Anti-Grey Hair Treatments
FO-TI is a Chinese herb called He Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum), marketed under the name of Fo-Ti (root). The literal English translation for He Shou Wu is "black haired Mr. He". This name refers to the legend from the 9th century A.D. of an old villager named Mr. He, who took Fo-Ti and restored his black hair, youthful appearance and vitality. In Chinese medicine, Fo-Ti is a longevity tonic that is used for greying hair, premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharge and erectile dysfunction. It is also believed to possess the ability to maximize the length of hair growth cycles. Fo-Ti is the main active ingredient in many overpriced grey hair products such as Shen Min, Shou Wu Pill, Shou Wu Pian, Reminex, etc (and some hair loss products, too). There is no clinical research available supporting the claim of its efficacy in treating grey hair and consumer product reviews are mixed at best, with most of the positive evidence sounding anecdotal. Fo-Ti should not be considered to hold the key to reversing premature or age-related greying of hair. It might, though, be used successfully in certain rare, non-genetically determined, grey hair conditions, as it was observed in some people to darken their overall hair but not selectively their white hair.
PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) is often referred to as vitamin BX or B10 and it is believed to be an anti-aging and anti-grey hair vitamin. Some research claims that PABA combined with folic acid helps restore hair to its original colour.
FOLIC ACID is another member from the group of vitamins B (B9) and it is believed to be essential in maintaining and restoring the original hair colour.
Both, PABA and folic acid are frequent components of generic, grey hair cures. An average healthy person is unlikely to register a change in the colour of their hair as a result of the extra intake of these two vitamins. Their administration can only be beneficial in rare, grey hair conditions caused by the deficiency of any of these two vitamins.
BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES is the dark liquid by-product of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated by-product left over after the sugar's sucrose has been crystallized. Blackstrap molasses is still mostly sugar by calories; however, unlike refined sugar, it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as B6, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Blackstrap molasses has been credited with a number of health giving properties and, among others, it is also believed to reverse grey hair. No scientific or empirical proof of this claim exists and the only favourable testimonials can be found at websites promoting and selling this product as a health supplement.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR - its water solution applied topically is said to be an old, traditional method of reversing grey hair. It is assumed to work in a similar fashion to the metallic-based, hair colorants, gradually changing the colour of white hair. Its mechanism of action and potential efficacy are obviously unknown. Neither scientific evidence nor user testimonials exist to confirm the story behind this method of reversing grey hair. It is an old wive’s tale.
SAGE TEA is another traditional natural remedy to recover the original hair colour. Strong sage tea should be applied to the hair and left to dry, then rinsed with water and dried. This therapy should be repeated weekly until the desired shade is achieved. It is conceivable that the strong sage tea could stain and colour the hair but no consumer testimonials exist to confirm that it is really effective in covering grey hair.
RUBBING THE NAILS against each other is said to help circulation (as nerve endings are located under the finger nails), thereby reducing grey hair. This is an old technique from India and it requires a bit of commitment as it is not as easy as it sounds to rub one’s nails against each other for five minutes at a stretch. This method sounds weird but trying it does not cost anything.
Covering Grey Hair
Overview of available options for covering grey hair and analysis of their active ingredients and mechanism of action. Evaluation of the benefits of progressive hair colorants in covering grey hair versus conventional hair dyes.
Commercial Grey Hair Products
The list of commercial grey hair treatments, presenting their consumer rating summary, the main active ingredients, mode of action, pricing and links to the editor review and independent consumer reviews.