A grey world: Study reveals stress responsible for premature greying

‘Grey hair is a crown of splendor’ says the Bible. Similar proverbs exist, all reiterating the splendor and the ‘wisdom’ associated with greying locks. However, not everyone thinks that way. While others may be comfortable with a greying head, an equal number refuses to accept it.

Greying of hair is a natural process. As one advances through the years, the body starts aging and a greying head is one of the ways in which aging manifests. But, sometimes, greying of the hair occurs prematurely – even in teenagers. It can be a source of insecurity and despair which can negatively impact one’s life. The untimely greying of hair has been linked to a number of factors like genes, vitamin deficiency and even stress.


Yes, stress. Stress has been linked to multiple health issues in humans and greying of hair is one of them. A recent study has found concrete evidence that links psychological stress and greying hair. Shock and trauma can have damaging impacts on the colour of one’s hair. Enough stress can interfere with pigmentation and inadvertently lead to premature greying.

Scientist have found that under stressful conditions, the cells in the body evoke a defense mechanism that interferes with melanin production. As a result, the hair follicles do not receive any melanin and start losing colour. But on a positive note, scientists have also discovered that colour can be restored once the stress is eliminated.

Martin Picard, an associate professor and a senior author for the aforementioned study, said, “Understanding the mechanisms that allow ‘old’ grey hairs to return to their ‘young’ pigmented states could yield new clues about the malleability of human ageing in general and how it is influenced by stress.” He also said that the study has contributed to growing evidence that points towards human aging not being a linear process and how external factors like stress play a critical role.

In today’s world, stress has become a part and parcel of everyday life. Our lives have become massive whirlwinds, revolving extensively around work, which is setting dangerous precedents for what follows. Reducing stress and anxiety and seeking help to address it would provide a massive boost in the tackling of premature greying. Taking the time to meditate and avoiding stressful situations might just be the key to giving greying locks a miss.


Daniel is our UK-based freelance Editor. As part of our quest towards credible news, Doctor's Clinic Blog India affiliates with individuals from other parts of the world to provide an in-depth focus on essential topics. Daniel received his degree from the University of Sheffield, and since then, worked to multiple sites as a freelance contributor and editor.

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