How Does Stress Cause Gray Hair?

Why Hair Turns Gray

Gray hair normally appears on adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Each hair follicle has a coating of melanin that determines what color the hair appears. As a person grows older, the melanin in the hair will slowly die, which is why hair does not turn gray overnight. Hair with little melanin will be salt-and-pepper in appearance, while hair with no melanin will appear light gray or white. The presence of gray hair and when it appears depends on heredity. Even children sometimes grow patches or a few strands of gray hair, which is usually because of premature gray hair running in the family. Smoking, vitamin E and echinacea have been known to cause premature graying. Stress as a cause of gray hair is controversial in the medical word, as only some doctors believe it is a possible cause.

Gray Hair and Stress

Some doctors believe that stress can cause the melanin production in the hair follicles to die more quickly than a person who has low stress. On the other hand, because it is hard to measure the level of stress in the life of an individual and each person gets gray hair at a different time, it is a difficult theory to prove. Some doctors have relied on the notion that stress can't help melanin production, so if you are worried about the loss of melanin in you hair, stay away from stressful situations and cigarette smoke and use vitamin E and echinacea sparingly.

How to Avoid Gray Hair from Stress

Because it is not proved that stress is one of the causes of melanin loss and there is no way to regain melanin by removing stress from your life, there is really no surefire way to eliminate gray hair, except to dye it. Most hair that has been stripped of its melanin will still take hair dye, and there are many dyes on the market that look natural. Go to your local hairdresser to ask what kind of dye will work best for gray hair. Eliminating stress from your life may not bring melanin back into your hair, but it will prevent high blood pressure and heart attack, so it is important to take care of yourself if you are starting to feel severely stressed or nervous. If stress is a problem in your life, see a therapist or counselor to talk about managing your stress problems.