Does Stress Cause You to Get Gray Hair?


Quick Answer

Chronic stress may indirectly cause a person's hair to turn gray by accelerating the natural aging process, but no scientific studies directly prove this belief, according to WebMD. Cellular damage to hair pigmentation may occur in response to stress, causing hair to lose its color sooner.

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Full Answer

Huffington Post argues that stressful events can lead a person to eat poorly and possibly suffer various nutritional deficiencies that alter the individual's natural hair color, however, hair graying is largely controlled by genetics. During the first stages of graying, it is possible for gray hairs to become repigmented and regain their original color as they grow out.

The belief that stress contributes to hair graying is commonly based on the evidence that U.S. presidents seem to age rapidly during their four or eight years in office, explains HowStuffWorks. This is likely due to their age, as most gray hair begins appearing between 30 and 35 years old, and many presidents are well into middle age by the time they take office. It is normal for men to turn gray during this phase, and white males tend to gray earlier than black men, notes Edmonds. People usually begin to get gray hair around the same age as their parents did, so that is the best predictor of when a person's hair color will change.

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