Losing hair is stressful … literally. We are always busy being busy, and life can get overwhelming and at times, you just need to step back and take a breath. That might not only be good for your ticker, but it will help you prevent balding and manifesting grey hair.
Recently we came across this little beauty of an article at the Huffington Post from Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips a trichologist (Hair & Scalp Specialist) from Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City. As well as Sandra Gilman, trichologist and educational director for The Elan Center for Trichology in Alabama, to help us get to the bottom of this widely believed theory.
"Stress is more likely to cause hair loss and an increase in shedding than cause grey or white hair," Cunnane Phillips tells us. "Grey hair is largely influenced by genetics and a complex series of cell chemistries." Gilman agrees that "the majority of grey hair is genetic, but if the person is predisposed to grey hair, stress will make it appear sooner." She adds that hair pigmentation can be disrupted due to certain factors. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, various processes take place in a timely fashion to produce a shaft of hair with the correct colour (genetically speaking). One of these processes involves the melanin-producing cells that are present and whose job it is to provide colour to the hair during the hair-growth cycle. During this cycle, anything that interrupts the flow of events can cause the non-pigmentation of the hair shaft."
So what constitutes a stressful event, and why do we notice grey hairs following these periods? "These stress events can include surgery, head trauma, nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc deficiency or any other stress that the body perceives as a burden," says Gilman. That includes physical, mental and emotional stress, she clarified. To that end, Cunnane Phillips adds, "There has been debate over the relationship between the lack of vitamin B [and the presence of grey hair], and low vitamin B can be influenced by stress. Though it is largely predetermined, the onset and progression of hair greying correlates closely with chronological ageing: The age at which our first gray appears is genetically controlled and inherited."
Conclusion: The greying of hair is thought to be brought on by predetermined factors due to genetics. Stress typically manifests in hair loss or shedding, though it can result in premature depigmentation in those who have a predisposition to grey hair.
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