View Full Version : Can stress really cause greys?

September 12th, 2008, 02:42 PM
Apologies if this has been asked before.

I was wondering if it is actually true that stress can cause grey hairs to come in, or if it's all poppycock!

As well, assuming the stress has abated, can the greys change back?

I ask because about a year and a couple of months ago, I went through a major breakup with a bf of 3 years who I lived with, had to find a new apartment, lost my job, and had other significant stresses with friends and family. I had numerous significant nervous breakdowns.
I also stopped dyeing my hair about a year ago, and I have about 20-30 greys which are from that time.
Both my parents just started going grey in their late 50's. My older brother doesn't have any grey.

I'm also wondering if it could be a vitamin B deficiency, as I have other symptoms of that.

Anyone know? I don't completely mind the greys, but I would be happier if they eventually grew out.

September 12th, 2008, 03:30 PM
A deficiency specifically in PABA a type of b vitamin has been shown to induce greying. I hear that supplementing with it can cause hair to regain it's colour, but i don't know if that's proven or anecdotal.
I do think given the physical effects of stress that it's a likely factor in greying prematurely.

September 12th, 2008, 03:35 PM
shoot, if that were the case - we'd all be grey! I would've been gray at 11 :-P

September 12th, 2008, 03:47 PM
Genetics do come into play too, of course, but I've heard of several instances where people went through something traumatic (loss of someone close for example) and going visibly grey/white in less than a year. I wouldn't know the biological reasons why it would happen, but there seems to be evidence in favor of this. People's bodies do respond differently to stress, though.

Strange that this should cross my mind, but have you seen pictures of Ossama Bin Laden prior to September 11th 2001 and then in videos released afterwards while on the run and being the most "wanted" man on the planet?

September 12th, 2008, 05:09 PM
That would happen because of shed. Grey hair is a percentage of white hairs among the hairs of the original color. If you shed hair because of trauma or stress and shed the dark hairs disproportionately, your hair will seem to be whiter/greyer.

Hair that's already grown out is dead, so it can't change color.


September 12th, 2008, 05:42 PM
I never had any grey hairs, but earlier this year something bad happened and not only did I loose a lot of hair, right after that I got my first white hair. It's a single one, so I can just get rid of it easily. I do think it's because of what happened, it's too much of a coincidence. My hair tends to be very much like my mothers and she didn't get greys until she was in her 50's.

September 12th, 2008, 06:04 PM
Hmm, I also have a lot of normal-coloured hairs the same length as the greys, which could indicate a large shed? Hard to say I guess.

I find it ironic that I stop dyeing my hair and then a few of the new hairs that grow in are grey.

ilovelonghair: I agree that it's too much of a coincidence, which my situation seems to be as well. Except I have a significant amount - not just one!