World Mental Healthcare Association

Stress Causes Premature Hair Greying And Can Be Reversed, New Study Finds

Mental Health News: A new study showed that psychological stress causes greying of hair in people and natural hair color can be restored when stress is eliminated.

A lot of people are suffering from early hair greying, a hallmark of aging generally believed to be irreversible and linked to psychological stress. Surprisingly, researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that human hair greying is reversible.

Researchers were studying melanin and other proteins involved in hair pigmentation. They hired 14 participants and collected 400 hair samples and analyzed them using a new imaging technique that detected pigment levels in different parts of the hair. The team again conducted 14 volunteers and asked them to answer some questions related to their life events, stress around the time when hair turned grey and what was the life state when the natural hair colour restored.

Keeping in mind that the hair grows at a certain rate, the researchers calculated when a person’s hair had started to turn grey, and then when it had reverted to its natural color. In one participant they found that going on vacation coincided with hair reverting to its natural colour.

They confirmed that stress turns hair gray and removing the stress factor allow the hair to return to its natural color. However, reversal appears to hair that has turned grey from stress and only if it occurs relatively soon after the hair has turned grey.

“Our data show that greying is reversible in people, which implicates a different mechanism,” says co-author Ralf Paus, Ph.D. Reducing stress could be a good goal, but hair pigmentation is possible only for some.

The study findings add to the existing literature demonstrating that human aging is not a linear, fixed biological process. There is a chance that this process at least in part, can be halted or even temporarily reversed.

To Know More You May Refer To

Rosenberg, A. M., Rausser, S., Ren, J., Mosharov, E. V., Sturm, G., Ogden, R. T., Patel, P., Kumar Soni, R., Lacefield, C., Tobin, D. J., Paus, R., & Picard, M. (2021). Quantitative mapping of human hair greying and reversal in relation to life stress. eLife, 10. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.67437

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