How to Increase Melanin Production in the Hair

For many people, their hair is their pride and joy. Whether they sport beautiful, cascading locks all the way down their back, or a vibrantly dyed shade that is the perfect form of self-expression, their hair is important to their own identity and sense of self-worth. But then, one day, they notice a single gray strand.

Everyone’s hair turns gray at some point. It’s a natural sign of aging, and no one can avoid it. Some people start to see gray or white hairs very early in their lives – as young as their 20s. Others manage to make it past 50 without a single gray appearing. Some experience salt-and-pepper locks for decades, while others seem to be completely gray overnight. You may even get gray hair due to dry scalp.

If you’re starting to go gray, it’s natural to want to turn it around and enjoy your natural hair color once more. One way to do this is to increase your body’s production of melanin – the vital pigment that gives hair its color.

We’re going to look at ways you can increase the melanin in your hair. This could help restore your natural color and prevent the grays from appearing for longer. We’ll look at vitamins and specific foods which increase melanin production, as well as exercises and activities you should do – or avoid. If you’ve ever wished you could turn back the clock for your hair, read on!

What Role Does Melanin Play with the Hair?

Melanin is the naturally-occurring substance that gives your hair, skin, and eyes their unique coloring. Melanin is produced by pigment cells called melanocytes. In people with darker skin, melanocytes produce more melanin per cell.

Melanin forms in our bodies before we’re even born. Our natural hair color is entirely dependent on the type, amount, and distribution of the melanin in the cortex of our hair (the middle layer of the hair shaft).

Experts believe that, as we age, our melanocyte activity begins to slow down. This means our hair receives a little less pigment over time, and eventually, it will begin to turn gray or white. Other factors also come into play here: genetics can dictate the ‘melanogenetic clock’ of each of our follicles. If your parents went gray early, it’s likely you will too.

So if a lack of melanin production is responsible for graying hair, it stands to reason that we should strive to increase that production if we can. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to increase melanin production.

Ways To Increase Melanin Production

There are a variety of ways you can increase melanin production in the body. They range from eating the right foods and taking additional supplements, to carrying out certain activities or avoiding toxins. Here are some of the most effective ways to boost your body’s production of vital melanin, to keep those grays at bay.


One of the best ways to increase melanin production in the body is to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Not only is the hair made up of protein (keratin), but it’s been proven that a prolonged protein deficiency could cause the pigment in your hair to fade over time.

Instead of a bright blonde or a vibrant brown, your hair could turn dull because you’re not getting enough protein. Eating food like meat and eggs can help keep your melanin production at a normal level.

  • If you’re not allergic to seafood, this is also a great option to help boost your melanin production. Food like oily fish and shellfish are not only high in protein, and they’re rich in copper and iodine – a lack of which can inhibit your hair’s melanin production.
  • Foods that are rich in iron are also essential if you want to up your body’s melanin count. Many women have iron deficiencies because of their menstrual cycle – in some countries, doctors recommend that all women pay greater attention to their iron intake than most men do.
  • Dark green vegetables are a wonderful source of iron – spinach and kale, for example. Bananas, tomatoes, beans, and peas of all kinds are also packed with plenty of iron. Why not cook up a chili con carne with tomatoes, plenty of kidney beans and a side of green vegetables for an iron-rich meal?
  • Foods rich in vitamin A have also been known to increase melanin production. Stock up on products like carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, apricot and papaya all have lots of vitamin A. Try to eat at least one or two of these with every meal.
  • Indian gooseberry may be a more challenging ingredient to get hold of, but if you can, it’s worth it. This traditional remedy has been used in India for centuries to solve many hair problems, including the early onset of white or gray hair. It’s thought to enrich hair pigmentation, and it’s delicious in Indian cuisine.

Vitamin Supplements

Even if you eat a balanced diet, you may still find yourself lacking in certain vitamins and minerals that help boost melanin in your hair. There are some formulas with vitamins and natural ingredients that aid with normal hair pigmentation. These could work very well for anyone who is worried about premature greying or greying in general, and those would like to prevent greying hair.

Here are some of the best vitamin supplements you can add to your diet to enrich your hair’s pigment:

Vitamin B

A vitamin B complex is essential for good hair health in general. It contains B7, known as biotin, which can help your hair to grow much quicker, and it also contains B9, known as folic acid.

If you’re not getting enough folic acid in your diet, it can slow down cell division in your hair follicles, which also slows down your hair growth. If your hair is growing slowly, how will you replace the grays with rich, pigmented strands?

Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s Yeast is something of a superfood supplement, with a combination of powerful nutrients that will help reduce grays. It is also a great source of biotin, which is vital for hair growth and cell regeneration.

It also boosts blood circulation, which ensures your follicles are getting the nutrients they need to produce more melanin. It comes in powder form, which can be added to drinks like a shake. Alternatively, you can buy it in flakes and just sprinkle it on any food.

Vitamin A

If you find it hard to get the recommended amount of vitamin A, take a supplement.

The recommended daily amount is 900mcg for men and 700mcg for women. If you do take a vitamin A supplement, you should also make sure you’re getting enough fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) to help your body absorb it. These include dairy products, bread, fruit juices, chia seeds, dark chocolate, and avocados.


Many women are naturally deficient in iron. This can easily be rectified by taking a daily supplement. Iron supplements increase your general health, as well as helping to ensure your melanin production continues for a little longer.

Increase melanin in the hair


You may have heard of the concept that leading a stressful life can cause you to go gray. It turns out this isn’t an old wives’ tale – there is some truth in it. A study conducted by a leading doctor from Sinai Hospital found that those who experience more stress are more likely to go prematurely gray than those who enjoy lower stress levels.

Combatting stress is vital in increasing melanin production. One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels is to carry out some yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. These can help to bring your blood pressure down and decrease your stress levels, making you feel calmer and more relaxed on a daily basis. In the long-term, yoga has plenty of health benefits that will also contribute to a better lifestyle.

Coconut Oil

This is another commonly suggested method of increasing melanin production – when it’s applied topically. Some believe that when coconut oil is massaged into the scalp on a regular basis, it can strengthen hair follicles. Anecdotally, some have also reported that it encourages the restoration of their natural hair color. Some even mix it with Indian gooseberry for maximum effect.

Another controversial method which seems to have worked for others is to use a gourd as a hair mask. Take a few pieces of dried, ribbed gourd and seal it in an airtight container. You can also add some coconut oil to the container. Leave it completely sealed at room temperature for up to four days.

After the four days put the gourd and the remaining coconut oil into a pan and boil it until the entire thing has turned into a liquid. Leave it to cool – the oil can get extremely hot! Apply it as a hair mask and deep conditioning treatment which also has the added benefit of enhancing your hair’s melanin.


You should also seek to avoid exposure to toxins and pollutants in your everyday life. These can affect your body’s melanin production, causing it to slow down prematurely. If you live in a highly populated area, it may be tough to avoid things like pollution. Instead, you should make sure to include as many melanin-enriching foods and supplements in your diet as possible.

The gradual slowdown of the body’s melanin production happens to everyone, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. You can slow down the process and enjoy beautifully vibrant hair for a little longer with these important tips.

It’s also worth remembering that gray hair doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are hundreds of fantastic hair dye products on the market that look natural and can help you keep your self-confidence up, even when the grays start to appear.

Gray Hair Treatments

There are, of course, many off-the-shelf treatments that can help with gray hair. These will help with premature greying of hair, but also “cover up” the issue by darkening the hair while you wait for results. Here are top three options today.

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Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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