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If hair graying is caused by stress, it may be naturally reversible

If hair graying is caused by stress, it may be naturally reversible

March 01, 2021
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One thing seemed certain, once the hair turns gray there is no way to make it go back to its original color, except with the hair dye. But this is not the truth, at least not always and not in all cases. In fact, in people under the age of 40 and healthy, premature graying of hair caused by stress can be reversible, as demonstrated by a recent scientific research published in preprint on bioRxiv thanks to the work of a team at the Columbia University (Rosenberg et al., bioRxiv, 2020).

Gray hair has always been considered a sign of wisdom as it occurs with aging. However, it can happen that people in their thirties and less show gray hair, for genetic reasons, lack of some nutrients, some medicines but also for stress. It is precisely on the action of this latter factor that the research of scientists has focused. Specifically, the researchers asked 14 volunteers, aged between 9 and 39, to provide hair taken from the head but also hair from other parts of the body. With an innovative imaging technique it was possible to study the distribution of pigment along the entire length of the hair. What emerged was that some hair was gray towards the tips but had the roots and the first part starting from the roots of the natural color. Since the hair grows from the root, what has been observed is explained by the fact that at a certain point the hair had turned gray and then changed to its natural color. Therefore this shows that the graying process can be, in some cases, reversible. But what are these cases? First, the volunteers were chosen precisely in those age groups where graying is considered premature and not linked to a normal aging process, then the volunteers were all healthy and did not take drugs. Finally, it was possible to reconnect the cause of graying to stress. In fact, considering the speed of hair growth, it was possible, for all the volunteers, to link a stressful period to the appearance of gray hair and a rest period, in which the stressful reason had been removed, to the return to the natural hair color. In particular, where observed, this return to natural color has often coincided with a holiday. However, for the hair to return to its color, stress should not last long and reversibility can occur if the graying is recent.

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