Scientists have figured out why stress whitens your hair

You all know that stress whitens your hair. A team of Harvard scientists recently discovered the process by which this color change takes place.


Scientists have long understood that gray hair is the result of the natural process of human aging, but also the result of certain disorders of the hair follicles and stress. Until now, we never knew exactly what role stress plays in causing gray hair.

As it turns out, a certain type of stress is the culprit behind graying. When you experience this type of stress it causes a stimulation of the nerve that activates the stem cells, which are responsible for coloring your hair.

According to research work of the Harvard team :

Our study shows that neuronal activity caused by acute stress can lead to rapid and permanent loss of somatic stem cells and demonstrates that the maintenance of somatic stem cells is directly affected by the overall physiological state of the body.

How did they do all this? Well, this point is pretty awful. They put laboratory mice in a state of three different types of stress: physical restraint, physical pain and psychological discomfort. Each stressor caused gray / white hairs in the mice.

The researchers then began troubleshooting to see what was secondary to the gray tint. Suspecting that the cause was the adrenal glands, they repeated the tests on mice after removing their adrenal glands. These mice were still graying, so they tried again by interfering with other hormonal processes. Finally, the researchers found that a sympathetic nerve response caused an overload of stem cells, which are responsible for gray hair. After blocking this process, the mice stopped graying.

This may sound awful, and this article may be off-topic, but once scientists discover how a process works, the next step is to find a cure for it. So those of you with gray hair may not be able to see the cure, but your children will have the choice.

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