- Gray hair can be a sign of aging.
- But research suggests that some gray hairs may return to color, and could be linked to stress.
- The connection between stress and gray hair has also been established in mice.
- Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.
Young people who develop gray hair in the early stages of life may turn their whites and silver into color from stress, research suggests.
In a small study, published in eLife, the researchers collected hair samples from 14 participants aged nine to 65 years with “some gray hair” or “two colored hairs”. They then analyzed the color of each strand and compared it to the time of their hair growth.
The researchers found that 10 people had some gray hair that returned to color.
Participants whose gray hair changed back to having color said they felt more relaxed by the time their hair sample was analyzed. Meanwhile, participants whose hair changed to gray reported having experienced one stressful time of his life, suggesting a link between stress and the gray matter process.
But researchers say this is only possible if you catch it soon enough, and the reversal effect may not happen in old age.
“There’s a window of opportunity during which gray is probably much more reversible than we thought for a long time,” said study co-author Ralf Paus, a dermatologist at the University of Miami. Scientific American.
But Paus said that because not every strand of gray hair has changed its color, these changes can only happen when the hair follicle is still malleable.
“We don’t think that reducing stress in a 70-year-old who has been gray for years if he darkens his hair or increases stress in a 10-year-old will be enough to tilt his hair above the gray threshold,” he studies co -Author Martin Picard and a mitochondrial psychobiologist at Columbia University, told the Atlanta Journal Institution.
Gray hair occurs when the body stops making cells that produce melanin, which gives the hair its color.