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Gray hair: stress could cause dreaded color change

Stressed woman

There may be a connection between sudden stress and gray hair. However, these would return to their natural color after tension. Let’s see what it is.

Gray hair, or its fall, are among the most feared eventualities by all. According to recent research, there may be links with sudden emotional stress . Indeed, it seems that tensions, great fears or unsatisfactory work activities may be the basis of chronic stress. This would cause hair loss or graying . It sounds like an urban legend, but science confirms this connection, according to which a strong discharge of stress can turn gray hair.

Supporting this thesis is research conducted in the USA, and available on the Biorxiv website. From this study it emerges that a strong stress would color the hair gray but, once the emotional rock has been overcome , the hair would return to normal coloring.

Obviously, other studies are needed , but let’s try to understand how stress affects hair health .

Stress and gray hair: when does it happen?

The experts, in carrying out their research, have focused their attention on proteins, including melanin, which have a fundamental role in determining hair coloring .

Woman, gray hair and stress
woman stress and tension

The subjects examined offered hair and hair samples and, among the first data that emerged, we can see that if the color of the bulb is natural, in the outermost parts it tends to become gray. To best match the data, the specialists called the volunteers by submitting questionnaires .

The aim was to understand if in the period preceding the exam these had faced serious stressors . After that, calculations were made on hair growth. In fact, these take some time to grow back.

Then, by crossing the data relating to stressful events with that of hair color, it was possible to record the bulb’s reaction . The result is that gray hair regained its natural color when the individual was going on vacation. That is when the source of stress disappears.

Therefore we can say that the removal, even temporary , from the stressor allows gray hair to regain its color.

In any case, however, this is not a fixed law, but an event in which it was possible to precisely identify the cause of the stress. If, on the other hand, the loss of color is linked to natural factors , such as age, the situation is different. In fact, the reverse color change does not occur.

Stress: the other effects on the hair

However, it must be remembered that physical stress, related to pathologies or taking medications, can have repercussions on hair health . In fact, in addition to gray hair, other problems can occur such as baldness or hair loss, also called telogen effluvium.

Stress in fact leads to a widespread hair loss, caused by a sort of acceleration of the hair’s life cycle. Specifically, the hair follicles would pass from the anagen phase to the telogen phase . This would also lead to hair loss after three months.

This condition, however, would not be definitive, since the fallen hair would be replaced by other new and stronger ones. In any case, hair loss can also occur in conjunction with diseases such as anemia, diabetes, pneumonia or kidney or liver failure.

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