Does Stress Turn Your Hair Gray Or White?
After all engines had failed on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth back in 1982, the flight’s Captain, Eric Moody, calmly announced this news to his passengers. He then proceeded to make an emergency landing in Jakarta. Within months white strands started to show in his hair, and within 12 months he had gone entirely white. Many scientists would argue that this can purely be put down to stress, while many others would disagree.
How Does Hair Change Its Color?
Your hair color is determined by two types of melanin pigment – pheomelanin which determines red or yellow pigment, and eumelanin for how dark your hair is. As we grow older, our hair follicle cells stop producing these two pigments with the result being that our hair becomes colorless.
In men, this is normal around the age of 30, but it can begin as early as High School while others may find a white whisper in their 50s. Your hair changes color to white when all of your melanin pigment has gone and to gray hair when only some of it has disappeared.
Can It Be Caused By Stress?
When Marie Antoinette was led to the guillotine at the height of the French Revolution, the jeering crowd were shocked to see her hair had turned white overnight, or so the tale goes. This was put down to the sheer stress of her impending execution, yet scientists continue to debate if stress is related to white or gray hair occurring.
No one can categorically state if the demise of the melanin pigments can be caused by accelerated stress, but hypothesis abounds.
One research team, led by a Nobel Prize winning Chemist showed that chronic stress caused DNA damage in mice that led to gray hair, but this has obviously not been tested on humans due to the ethical implications of putting a person through sheer turmoil.
Another research group believed there was evidence that stress hormones could disrupt the delivery of melanin to a person’s hair, thus changing its coloring.
Are Genetics To Be Blamed?
It has been argued that it is a genetic process where the addition of stress and your lifestyle combined can have an adverse effect on the color of your hair. It has been noted that people with high-stress levels constantly in their lives have seen their hair change color over a period of two to three years.
There has become a growing belief that the color of your hair as you grow older is hereditary and stress has nothing to do with it. When it occurs, no one can pinpoint nor even control.
Scientists are beginning to understand that stress may hasten the sight of gray in your hair, but they cannot state that it is a fact that stress alone is the cause and more often than not, the most extreme cases of stress and shock appear to relate to actual hair loss over time.
There are advanced hair loss treatments that you can undergo, like Scalp Micropigmentation. If you have experienced hair loss and if you would like to know more then contact us today for a more in-depth discussion with a hair loss treatment specialist.