There is no proven link between graying hair and stress. Each strand of our hair goes through a natural process of growing, staying on the head for about two weeks, then falling out so that new hair can grow. Over time, this process speeds up, resulting in a break-down of the melanin that colors the hair. There is still a lot to learn about the effects of stress, but it appears that when we go gray mostly depends on genetics and chance.
Hair gets its color from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. The hair itself is produced from cells called keratinocytes. Keratinocytes and melanocytes continuously die and are regenerated from stem cells located in the hair follicle. Hair turns grey because melanocyte stem cells become depleted faster than keratinocyte stem cells, which causes new hairs to be constructed without pigment.
Scientists have not found a clear link between stress and greying hair. Some speculate that stress hormones may cause inflammation that drives the production of free radicals in the body, which may then disrupt the signals instructing melanocytes to deliver pigment to the hair.
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