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A 30-year-old member asked:

Why does stress cause gray hair?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lawrence Smith
Clinical Psychology 30 years experience
We don't yet know: According to scientific american, "scientists are beginning to gather clues that stress can hasten the graying process, but there is no scientific evidence demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship." the possible explanations are technical and have to do with the effects of stress hormones interfering with the delivery of pigment to the hair. Genetic programing certainly plays a big role.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Graying of hair is: Related to genetic predisposition. The age of initial graying is largely a matter of genetics. However stressors such as nutritional deficiencies, traumatic head injuries, low vitamin b levels, zinc deficiency, severe illness, surgery and marked emotional stress may impact earlier depigmentation in people who are already predisposed to gray hair. In general – genetics plays the biggest role.

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Lorton, VA
A 34-year-old male asked:

Is gray hair caused by stress? Or is it hereditary?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Reidbord
Psychiatry 36 years experience
Both: The tendency for hair to turn gray (or fall out, as in male-pattern baldness) is hereditary: some people get gray hair "prematurely", i.e., before most other people; for others it takes decades longer. However, emotional stress or physical illness can make gray hair appear sooner. For example, us presidents often gets a lot of gray during their 4 or 8 years in office (check pics online).
Last updated Aug 16, 2017


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