Does Stress Cause Gray Hair?

Scientists have no clear answer to the question of whether stress can cause early gray hair. This widely accepted assumption is based on stories such as that of Marie Antoinette who is said to have turned gray within days as her decapitation was announced. However, this has a different cause called telogen effluvium. A sudden shock can trigger telogen effluvium, a sudden loss of hair which mainly causes the loss of healthy pigmented hair whereas the gray hair remains. Paradoxically, the gay hair has been shown to be more resistant to sudden shocks and mistreatment such as that caused by stress than healthy hair. A person affected by telogen effluvium can lose a significant portion of one’s hair within two to three weeks, and since it is mainly the healthy pigmented hair that goes, it gives one an impression of turning suddenly gray.

However, to this day scientists have not being able to find a clear link between stress and turning white. Even the US president Barack Obama has stated recently that his premature gray hair is not due to extreme pressure that he is undoubtedly exposed to but heredity. Despite that some smaller studies make claims that people who suffered from extreme stress for two to three years started turning gray prematurely but that is impossible to verify.

Filed under: General Gray Hair Issues