Turning Gray Overnight

You must have heard stories of people who experienced a sudden shock or trauma and their hair turned gray virtually overnight. Many of such stories go back many years if not centuries ago but there are also some cases from more recent past. Since the hair on our head is made of dead keratin it cannot change color suddenly without external chemical influence such as the bleaching agent or hair color. Therefore, if any such sudden transition from pigmented to gray hair happened overnight it must have been through a sudden loss of hair.

Hence, one plausible explanation is that this sudden change in hair color is caused by telogen effluvium. Such a change can happen in a person who has a blend of white and pigmented hair. As long as there is not too much of the white hair in this blend it may be hardly noticeable. Now, telogen effluvium comes in play. Telogen effluvium is a sudden loss of hair that can be sparked off by various factors with shock, trauma or extreme stress being some of them. A person can lose a significant portion of ones hair within days as a result of this condition. If you realize that white hair is usually thicker, courser and more resistant to external factors than regular pigmented hair it can be assumed that telogen effluvium mainly affects the pigmented hair. The result is the sudden loss of the large portion of the pigmented hair, which gives the impression of person’s hair suddenly turning gray.

Filed under: General Gray Hair Issues