Scientists Finally Know Why Stress Turns Your Hair â€˜Whiteâ€™ (Photo Credit: Twitter)
New Delhi :
Not everyone is lucky to have a Paul Rudd set of brown hair at 50. Infact, it is no overwhelming sight to even see white strands of hair even among teens, a clear indication that people now are much more stressed than people then. Of the many reasons that makes hair turn white, stress has been one big factor. Researchers found that hormones produced in response to stress can deplete the melanocyte stem cells that determine hair color causing the stem cells to leave our hair follicles, leaving hair gray or white.
A new experiment on mice may now have an answer as to how stress can be the reason to the change of hair colour. Researchers from America and Brazil said that exploring the findings more could lead to development of a drug that stops hair changing colour.
Adding that hair colour change is mainly down to ageing and the natural process of getting old, Professor Ya-Cieh Hsu, from Harvard, told the BBC
"We now know for sure that stress is responsible for this specific change to your skin and hair, and how it works."
The accidental findings showed that the hearts were beating faster, their blood pressure rose, which affected their nervous system and caused acute stress causing the stem cells that produced melanin to be reduced.
"I expected stress was bad for the body, But the detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined.
"After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they're gone, you can't regenerate pigment any more - the damage is permanent’’ professor Hsu added.
In another experiment, the finding showed that the changes could be blocked by giving the mice a drug that treats high-blood pressure. Researchers were hence able to compare the genes of mice in pain with others and realise that the protein causing damage when stressed is called cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK).
"These findings are not a cure or treatment for grey hair. Our discovery, made in mice, is only the beginning of a long journey to finding an intervention for people.
"It also gives us an idea of how stress might affect many other parts of the body."