Going Gray

The other day I was horrified when I was outside talking to one of my friends and she stopped mid-sentence and said, “Oh my God you have two gray hairs!” My friend immediately went on to ask me “have you been stressed lately?” This question got me thinking with exams coming up and the school year coming to a close I had been extra stressed lately, not to mention I’m only in college I shouldn’t be getting gray hairs! Not to mention after taking a personality test online I learned that I have a tendency to worry a lot. All of these factors got me to ask myself the same question as my friend, can too much stress really cause gray hair?

When I was younger I remember my mom and teachers using the expression that I was giving them gray hairs. But this expression goes back way further than my childhood. It was said that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned completely white the night before she was sent to the guillotine. But that’s just a legend right? Well I didn’t know and after learning exactly what a big impact stress can have on our body’s physically as well as mentally I started to believe that maybe there is some truth behind this idea.

Well as it turns out even though scientist say it is extremely unlikely for Marie Antoinette’s hair to have turned completely gray overnight, it is a known fact that stress ages us, and as part of that aging some can be left with an increased amount of gray hairs. How ever after reading an article which also attempts to bust this myth I discovered that the biology of hair color is a lot more complicated than worrying about an upcoming exam and as a result a gray hair starts to grow.

If there really is any connection between stress and going gray, I mean it makes sense that older people have more gray they have had to go through a whole life time of stressors while a younger person for the most part is stress free- until they get to college that is. However, according to professor David Fisher he makes this final statement about the connection between stress and gray hair, “Stress hormones may impact the survival and / or activity of melanocytes, but no clear link has been found between stress and gray hair.” So weather or not it was my extra stressful week that caused those two gray hairs, scientists say not.


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