You must have heard about a million times from someone or the other that with stress you might get your hair color grey soon. However, how true can that be?
Even though you might sometimes believe that personal, economic, and work-related stress is one of the reasons behind the greying of your hair but, the fact is, stress isn’t quite the direct cause of hair turning grey.
Anyway, to understand the subject better, let me tell you first how grey hairs start appearing on our head. Our head contain hundreds of thousands of follicles, each charged with producing one hair. Cells known as keratinocytes build the keratin that becomes our hair. Before hair emerges from the follicle, though, other cells known as melanocytes inject a pigment called melanin into the keratin.
When our hair turns grey, it’s due to lowered amounts of melanin, and when hair is completely white, our hair lacks melanin altogether. But why do our cells stop producing melanin as we age?
In 2009, a research in Japan stated that stress did in fact cause grey hair, but not the petty stress of the teenager or job interview. Researchers then found that genotoxic stress, in the form of ultraviolet light and chemicals, damages our DNA and could cause the depletion of those melanocyte stem cells, which is the very reason of the growth of grey hair. (Refer to the previous paragraph.)
Further, European researchers claimed that hair goes grey because the amount of hydrogen peroxide in our follicles builds up over time.
Another truth that also needs to be understood is that grey hairs usually start appearing between the ages of 30 and 35. However, the rate of greying differs according to factors like race, health condition and also weather.
But since stress causes hair loss, it can make those grey hairs more noticeable. In this article, however, we’re interested in whether stress can cause a hair to grow out from the root as grey or white.