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Ever Wonder Why Hair Turns Gray

1 year, 8 months ago

12077  3
Posted on Sep 25, 2017, 4 p.m.

How much and when your hair turns gray is really influenced by the genes you inherit. Look to the past generation or two to accurately determine your own fate.

For the most part, stress does not actually turn hair gray, because once a hair is grown, the color is set. However, hair follicles do produce less color as you age (probably due to decreased production of human growth hormone) any time after the age of 35; as your individual genetics dictate. Some proponents of HGH and other replacement hormone therapy claim hair color and growth can be somewhat restored with those products. (see A4M below)

All my life I’ve heard that stress turns hair gray. One of the most striking examples I’ve noticed is that of Presidents and politicians. Their hair seems to get grayer right in front of our eyes, thanks to press and television coverage of their everyday lives. I guess politics is a very stressful job, but so is air traffic controller, and oh yes, being married, raising kids, and dealing with bosses! Truth is, life is stressful, no matter who you are … except maybe a Himalayan monk who theoretically has much less stress than we do. News flash … they go gray as well! So, what’s the answer?

Modern medical research has now shown that stress may rarely create a condition called “telogen effluvium” which is a form of rapid hair loss (3-4 times faster than normal). However, the hair usually grows back fairly quickly, especially if the stress is alleviated. The hair that grows back can either be of its original color or more grayish.

How much and when your hair turns gray is really influenced by the genes you inherit. Look to the past generation or two to accurately determine your own fate. Therefore, stressing about stress turning your hair gray is a waste of time, thought, and energy.

The thought of a man dying his hair may be untenable to some, but I see more and more of my contemporaries doing it with reasonably good success (appears natural). Otherwise, hair re-growth with its original color remains a very difficult road.

There are a few illnesses that can cause pre-mature graying, especially at a very young age:

  1. Alopecia areata: patches of hair loss, especially the colored (non-gray) hairs. It sometimes appears an overnight change because gray or white hairs suddenly become more obvious. Colored hair may eventually return, or it can be white or gray as well.
  2. Vitamin B12deficiency
  3. Thyroid disease
  4. Vitiligo: destruction of melanocytes (the cells at the base of hair follicles that produce color), might be an auto-immune reaction attacking the scalp
  5. Neurofibromatosis (also called Von Recklinghausen’s disease): an inherited disease which causes tumors to grow along nerves
  6. Tuberous sclerosis: a rare inherited condition that causes benign tumors in multiple locations: brain, heart, kidneys, eyes, lungs, and skin
  7. Osteopenia
  8. Cigarette smoking


 Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Michael J. Koch, Editor for and Dr. Ronald Klatz, DO, MD President of the A4M which has 28,000 Physician Members, and has trained over 150,000 physicians, health professionals and scientists around the world in the new specialty of Anti-Aging Medicine. A4M physicians are now providing advanced preventative medical care for over 10’s of Million individuals worldwide who now recognize that aging is no longer inevitable.

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