Are You Stressing Yourself Gray?

Are You Stressing Yourself Gray?

I remember growing up and hearing my mom say that her gray hair was from me and my 2 younger sisters. Of course we would giggle thinking she was just being silly. But now that I am at that same age that she was when she would say that to us, I wonder if maybe stress does in fact have something to do with graying. With 3 kids, homeschool, daily house chores, running 2 blogs, and LIFE, I have had many a stressful time!

Are You Stressing Yourself Gray?

Witness how President Obama and President Bush turned gray as their terms progressed. Heavy (and silver) is the head who wears the crown. Legend has it, Marie Antoinette’s locks turned gray the night before her date with the guillotine.

Yet, when scientists and doctors are asked whether stress causes the acceleration of gray hair, you won’t get a definitive answer. Most experts say the connection between stress and graying is a myth, though extreme stress may cause a hair loss event (the condition is known as telogen effluvium, but that is a different area of investigation).

One of the reasons aging, not stress, has been attributed to graying is because the rate in which we lose pigments is slow and steady. Hair grows about half an inch per month and the lifespan of a strand is about two to three years. This cycle may get disrupted during physiological stress, such as illness, drastic weight loss, or childbirth, but psychologically-derived stress is too temporary to change hair color.

If not stress, what causes hair to go gray? This much we know, hair color is produced by melanin, and as we age, we produce less of it. The rate of our melanin production is determined by genetics. Blaming your parents, in this context, would not only be scientifically accurate, but also productive. You can gauge when you’ll begin to gray by finding out what age it happened to your parents.

The good news: concern for your children, your high-pressure career, and other anxiety triggers are not causing or accelerating your change in color. Stress still is linked to wrinkles and hair loss (plus it’s unhealthy), but in the area of hair color, the bottom line is, it’s not a factor.

Another upside, if you’re reading this blog, you can cover grays quite easily and painlessly with Madison Reed. Now is the perfect time to try Madison Reed‘s healthier for you color!

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Jess Benoit

Jess is a homeschooling mama of 3, wife, gamer, Whovian, Nerd

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