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How to Increase Melanin in Hair Naturally with Melanin Rich Foods & Ayurveda

Some women carry grey hair with style, while others try to slow down the premature greying of hair. However, are you aware of the compound that makes pigments possible? Read on to discover how to increase the amount of Melanin in your hair!

7 min read
How to Increase Melanin in Hair Naturally with Melanin Rich Foods & Ayurveda

How to Increase Melanin In Hair: Top Melanin Rich Foods, Ayurveda & More

Some women carry grey hair with style, while others try to slow down the premature greying of hair. However, are you aware of the compound that makes pigments possible? Read on to discover how to increase the amount of Melanin in your hair!

What Is Melanin In Hair?

The natural colour of our hair is black or brown. But have you wondered how it changes colour and gradually turns white and grey as you grow older? Melanin is a compound responsible for the pigment of your hair. However, as individuals age, the amount of Melanin in the body reduces, making it switch colours.

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What Causes Melanin Deficiency?

1. Age

As you age, the production of melanin in the body goes down, and the hair starts greying. As per a study, greying of hair is common around 50 years of age, and people experience greying of most of their hair around this age.

2. Genetics

Genetics has a major role in the production of melanin in your body. As per a study, hair colour is affected by genetics. The genetic composition may cause melanin deficiency, making hair prematurely.

3. Sun Damage

According to research, excessive exposure to sunlight leads to the production of free radicals in the body. These free radicals cause oxidative stress, which destroys the hair proteins and DNA causing premature greying of hair.

4. Stress

Stress and anxiety cause chemical changes in the body that destroys the hair stem cells, which leads to premature greying of hair.

5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is essential for hair growth and colour. As per a study, the deficiency of vitamin B12 hampers the body's ability to carry oxygen to hair cells and causes greying of hair.

6. Smoking

Research indicates that smoking is significantly related to melanin deficiency, accelerating the greying of hair. Smoking increases the chances of premature greying of hair as it causes constriction of blood vessels and reduces the blood flow to hair follicles.

Melanin In Hair: What Role Does It Play In Our Hair?

First and foremost, Melanin determines the colour of your hair. Factors such as genetics play an integral role in determining how much Melanin you are born with. The two types of Melanin are:

  1. Eumelanin- responsible for darker hair colours
  2. Pheomelanin- responsible for lighter hair colours

The Melanin in your hair also protects your hair from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Moreover, hair pigmentation alters throughout different stages of a woman's life. Melanin is also responsible for hair vitality, making hair deficient of Melanin, brittle, dry and easily breakable.

Also read: Botox hair treatment

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How to Increase Melanin in Hair?

1. Vitamins

Vitamins like B5, B6, B9, B12, and D are essential for melanin production and reverse premature hair greying. As per a study, vitamin B9 is required for hair pigmentation, and its deficiency may lead to greying of hair. Foods that contain a sufficient amount of vitamin B9 are beans, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits.

Another study indicates that vitamin B12 is found to be deficient in people with grey hair. Vitamin B12 can be taken through dairy products, cereals, and meats. Greying of hair has been associated with vitamin D deficiency as well and can be reversed through intake of a moderate amount of sunlight and eggs, as per a study.

2. Minerals

Minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc are essential for hair growth and black hair. As per a study, low iron levels may be a cause of premature hair greying. Natural sources of iron are green leafy vegetables and lentils.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential to destroy free radicals. Free radicals, if not neutralised, can cause degeneration of hair cells and lead to premature greying of hair. Natural sources of antioxidants are dark chocolate, carrot, beans, and citrus fruits.

How to Increase Melanin in Hair Via Ayurveda?

Here are some ayurvedic remedies on how to boost Melanin in hair:

1. Brahmi Bringaraj Talia

This oil prevents premature greying of hairs and excessive hair fall by nourishing the dry scalp.

2. Henna

Also known as Mehndi, Henna is considered a natural dye and provides natural colour to your hair. Mix it with hot water or lime juice and apply it to your hair. Leave for about half an hour and then wash it off.

3. Coconut Oil

It keeps your scalp cool and protects you from distress. One can use coconut oil in combination with:

  • Amla: Mix 3 tbsp of coconut oil with 2 tbsp of amla powder and heat them until the mixture turns black. Let it cool down, and then apply to your hair.
  • Curry Leaves: Add coconut oil to a couple of curry leaves and heat till it turns black. Apply on the hair after the mixture cools down.
  • Aloe Vera: Apply a mixture of coconut oil and aloe vera gel on your hair. Wash after 15-20 minutes.
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4. Bringamalakadi Talia

It increases blood circulation and reduces excessive scalp heating to make hair strong and stop the growth of grey hairs.

5. Sesame Seed Oil

Antioxidants and vitamins in this oil help in preventing hair greying. You can use it in the following ways:

  • Oil massages your scalp.
  • Make sure to include it in your diet
  • Mix with other oils like olive, mustard and almond for massage.

Best Melanin Rich Foods for Hair?

Melanin rich foods must be consumed to stop premature greying of hair, which in most cases is due to mineral and vitamin deficiency. Best melanin rich foods for hair are:

1. Red Cabbage

Rich in: Vitamin C, Sulphur

Benefits: Vitamin C is antioxidant-rich and essential against greying hair. Sulphur produces hair keratin and improves pigmentation.

2. Avocado

Rich in: Vitamin E

Benefits: Prevents sun damage and protects the hair from premature hair greying.

3. Dark Chocolate

Rich in: Antioxidants; Vitamins A, B, C, D, E

Benefits: Prevents premature greying of hair by stimulating melanin production.

4. Carrots

Rich in: Beta-carotene, Antioxidants

Benefits: Boosts melanin production and causes the blackening of hair.

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What Causes Loss of Melanin In Your Hair?

Here are a few reasons that might be causing melanin deficiency in your hair:

Age causes loss of Melanin in your hair

Your body's ability to produce melanin decreases as you grow old. That is why most older adults have grey or white hair.

Sun Damage causes loss of Melanin in your hair

UV rays from the sun damage the melanin present in your hair and turn them into white.

Genetics causes loss of Melanin in your hair

Your genes determine the structure and colour of your hair. They also control melanin formation. Hence you might experience premature grey hair if you inherited such genes from your parents. In this case, there's no definite solution on how to improve Melanin in hair.

Autoimmune disorders cause loss of Melanin in your hair

Sometimes your immune system starts considering melanocytes as foreign bodies and starts attacking them. Vitiligo and Alopecia are two such autoimmune diseases.

Mental health causes loss of Melanin in your hair

Stem cells of hair follicles get disrupted if you are under stress, anxiety or any other type of mental pressure for a prolonged period. It might cause premature greying of hairs.

Smoking causes loss of Melanin in your hair

It blocks the blood vessels and thus slows down the flow of blood to hair follicles. As a result, melanin formation gets affected, and you may experience hair problems like discolouration, hair fall, etc.

Vitamin deficiency causes loss of Melanin in your hair

Vitamin B12 helps Red Blood Cells (RBCs) carry oxygen to various parts of the body, including hair follicles. Its deficiency could lead to hair discolouration because of the lack of oxygen in hair follicles.

Chemical products cause loss of Melanin in your hair  

Haircare products containing sulfates, parabens, silicon, etc., attack Melanin and may cause premature greying.

Are There Any Side-effects Of Melanin Supplements?

Excessive intake of melanin supplements could cause headache, nausea or allergic reaction. It might also cause problems if it interacts with the following drugs:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Diabetes medicine
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antiplatelet medicines
  • Contraceptives

Hence you should consult a doctor about increasing melanin levels in hair if you are planning to take supplements regularly.

Also read: Derma roller for hair loss

Summing Up How Can You Increase Melanin in Hair Naturally?

Maintaining a healthy diet is the correct path to increase Melanin in your hair naturally. This includes eating copper-rich, iron-rich, and catalase-rich foods, including onions, broccoli, apples, chickpeas, and the like.


What produces melanin-rich hair?

Foods rich in iron, copper and catalase such as sweet potatoes, grapes, sprouts, fish, cashews, pumpkin seeds and peaches produce melanin-rich hair.

Does lemon increase melanin?

We must break the news to you that this is a myth. Lemon indeed has anti-pigmentation effects, but its direct application to your hair is harsh and damaging. Lemons decrease the activity of tyrosinase that prevents the formation of Melanin. Even if you wish to use Melanin on your hair, make sure to dilute it with another ingredient such as honey to take care of your locks.

What Foods Reverse Grey Hair?

The formation of melanocytes on your cells distributes Melanin which is then transferred to keratinocytes that constitute the cells in your hair shaft. Foods high in Vitamin B-12, milk, salmon, and cheese are excellent foods to reverse grey hair. Moreover, reducing stress by consuming antioxidants like green tea, quitting excessive smoking, and drinking helps considerably.

Can Melanin in Hair Come Back?

If melanin is low due to nutritional deficiencies and the hair greying is premature, intake of vitamins and minerals may cause melanin in the hair to come back. However, if the cause of premature greying of hair is genetics or the hair is greying due to natural ageing, it is impossible to reverse the melanin production.

Can Amla Increase Melanin?

Yes, Amla is high in vitamin C and can help to increase melanin production. Amla is also a rich source of antioxidants and thus is essential for black hair growth.

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