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Reverse Gray Hair - When Science And Stress Succeed

It’s not only sagging skin that people worry about as they get older. Having gray or white hair is another thing. Though several ways or treatments to reverse gray hair look promising, nothing is 100 percent guaranteed effective. Still, a recent study offers hope to get back one’s natural hair color once the gray ones start appearing.

Author:Karan Emery
Reviewer:Daniel James
Mar 22, 2023
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2.3K Views
What does science - and stress, mind you - have to do with reverse gray hair?
Gray hair is a common phenomenon that occurs as people grow older.
However, there are various methods and products available in the market that claim to reverse gray hair or slow down the graying process.
Does stress make the hair become gray? Can science do something about reverse gray hair? Let’s find out.

How to Reverse Gray Hair, According to Scientists | Mashable

Gray Hair Facts

Before we talk about reverse gray hair, we might as well first discuss some truths pertaining to gray hair.
Gray hair is a natural part of the aging process that occurs when melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color, decreases or stops being produced by the body.
Here are some facts about gray hair:
Fact No. 1:Genetics plays a role in when and how quickly a person’s hair turns gray.
If your parents or grandparents had gray hair at an early age, you may also experience premature graying.
Fact No. 2:Stress and anxiety can contribute to premature graying of hair.
Stress hormones can interfere with melanin production and accelerate the graying process.
Fact No. 3:Gray hair can be caused by certain medical conditions.
Here are a few examples:
a. Vitiligo
This is a condition in which the immune system attacks the pigment cells in the skin and hair, leading to patches of skin and hair turning white or gray.
b. Thyroid disorders
Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels can affect melanin production, leading to premature graying of hair.
c. Autoimmune disorders
Certain autoimmune disorders, such as alopecia areata, can cause hair lossand premature graying of hair.
A brown-skinned male adult with alopecia looking downward and holding some strands of hair
A brown-skinned male adult with alopecia looking downward and holding some strands of hair
d. Nutritional deficiencies
Deficiencies in certain nutrients (e.g., vitamin B12 and copper) can affect melanin production and lead to premature graying of hair.
e. Genetic conditions
Some genetic conditions, such as premature graying syndrome, can cause hair to turn gray at an early age.
Fact No. 4:Gray hair is more susceptible to dryness, frizz, and breakage than pigmented hair.
This is because the sebaceous glands that produce natural oils to lubricate and protect the hair follicles decrease in activity as we age.
Fact No. 5:Gray hair can look dull and lackluster due to a buildup of environmental pollutants, product residue, and minerals in the hair.
Regular washing and conditioning can help keep gray hair looking its best.
Fact No. 6:Gray hair is more porous than pigmented hair, which means it absorbs moisture and products more easily.
This can be a good thing when it comes to conditioning treatments.
However, it also means that gray hair can become discolored from exposure to the following:
  • chlorine
  • hard water
  • other chemicals
Fact No. 7:Hair dye is a popular solution for covering gray hair, but it can be damaging to the hair and scalp.
It is important to choose a gentle, non-toxic dye and to follow the instructions carefully to minimize the risk of damage.
Fact No. 8:Embracing gray hair is becoming more popular.
People recognize that gray hair can be a sign of:
  • wisdom
  • experience
  • maturity
Many people find that they feel more confident and authentic with their natural hair color.
Nevertheless. several people still want to know about methods or treatments that can reverse gray hair. Talk about vanity!

Average Age For Grey Hair

The average age for gray hair can vary depending on several factors, including:
  • genetics
  • ethnicity
  • lifestyle factors (e.g., stress, diet, and smoking)
Generally, most people start to see gray hair in their 30s or 40s, but it’s not uncommon for some people to start going gray in their late 20s.
Others maintain their natural hair color well into their 50s or 60s.
Ultimately, the age at which someone begins to go gray can be highly individualized and can depend on a variety of factors unique to that person.
A grandmother with gray hair with granddaughter both in white clothes making cookies on the kitchen
A grandmother with gray hair with granddaughter both in white clothes making cookies on the kitchen

Reverse Gray Hair

Reverse gray hair refers to the process of restoring natural hair color after it has turned gray or white due to age or other factors.
The graying of hair is a natural process that occurs as we age. It happens when the cells that produce pigment (melanocytes) in our hair follicles gradually stop producing melanin.
There are several methods, albeit no strong guarantees, that may help slow down or reverse the graying process.
These methods range from natural remedies and supplements to commercial hair dyes and other cosmetic treatments.
While some of these methods may be effective, it is important to understand their potential risks and limitations before attempting to reverse gray hair.

Reverse Gray Hair Naturally

While there are no guaranteed natural methods to reverse gray hair, there are several things you can do to help promote healthy hair growth and potentially slow the graying process.
People with gray hair may try to do the following:
1. Maintain a healthy diet.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can promote healthy hair growth.
Foods that are rich in the following may help promote healthy hair growth:
  • copper (avocado, dark chocolate, organ meats)
  • folic acid (leafy green vegetables, grapefruits and orange, peanuts)
  • vitamin B6 (best sources: chicken and turkey; others: sweet potatoes and hazelnuts)
  • vitamin B12 (found in beef, eggs, tuna, salmon)
  • zinc (beans, nuts and seeds, pork)
In addition, supplements like biotin and pantothenic acid can help promote healthy hair growth and prevent premature graying.
2. Quit smoking.
Smoking has been linked to premature graying, so quitting smoking may help prevent or slow the graying process.
3. Use natural remedies.
Some natural remedies have been suggested as potential remedies for gray hair, such as:
  • blackstrap molasses
  • coconut oil
  • onion juice
  • sage tea (an herbal tea made from the leaves of the sage plant)
However, note that there is limited scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.
4. Practice good hair care.
Taking good care of your hair by avoiding harsh chemicals and heat styling tools can help prevent damage that may contribute to premature graying. Use gentle hair care productsand limit your use of hair dryers and straighteners.
Go and try these natural ways to reverse gray hair. They could be effective.

Reverse Gray Hair Permanently

At present, there is no known permanent method to reverse gray hair. Once hair has turned gray, it cannot be reversed.
There are some hair dyes and hair care products that claim to reverse or slow down the graying process. Still, they only provide temporary relief by covering the gray hair or restoring some of the lost pigment.
These products need to be reapplied regularly to maintain their effect.
So, while there are ways to temporarily cover or slow down the graying process, there is currently no permanent solution to reverse gray hair.
A smiling blonde woman with no gray hair at 65 on the street in coat and turtleneck shirt under a sweatshirt
A smiling blonde woman with no gray hair at 65 on the street in coat and turtleneck shirt under a sweatshirt

A Scientific Breakthrough To Reverse Gray Hair?

The research titled Quantitative Mapping of Human Hair Greying and Reversal in Relation to Life Stressaimed to investigate the relationship between stress and the graying of human hair.
The study, published online by the peer-reviewed journal eLife, involved 421 participants and examined hair samples from different regions of their scalp.
The researchers found that stress was associated with a higher likelihood of gray hair, particularly in the front and crown regions of the scalp. Furthermore, they observed that hair can recover its natural color after a reduction in stress levels.
The study used a novel method of quantitative mapping of gray hair and reversal, using specialized software to analyze the hair samples.
The lead author of the research, Ayelet M. Rosenberg, a graduate school student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, said, as quoted by Mashable:
I was not surprised by any of the stressors that correspond with graying; I was surprised to see how strong of an impact a vacation had on the reversal of graying.- Ayelet M. Rosenberg
The researchers also took into account other factors that could affect hair graying, such as:
  • age
  • gender
  • smoking
  • hair care
The study provides evidence that stress can contribute to premature hair graying, and reducing stress levels may help to reverse gray hair.
As Rosenberg told Mashable:
If somebody did have a sudden onset of gray hairs, it would be worth looking at their stress levels that correspond to that point in their life.- Ayelet M. Rosenberg
The research could have implications for the development of new therapies to prevent or treat premature hair graying, which can have a significant impact on a person’s appearance and self-esteem.
Don’t let stress succeed in turning your hair gray!

Why Stress Makes Your Hair Gray

People Also Ask

How Much Gray Hair Is Normal At 40?

It can be difficult to tell because it depends on many factors, but on average, it’s estimated that around 40 percent of people have at least some gray hair by age 40.
According to a 2018 Cosmopolitan article, over 50 percent of the hair of women in their 50s will turn gray.

What Is It Called When Your Hair Turns Gray From Stress?

The phenomenon of hair turning grey or white due to stress is often referred to as “premature graying” or “stress-induced graying.”

What Happens If You Pluck A Gray Hair?

If you pluck a gray hair, a new hair will eventually grow back in its place. However, the new hair may not necessarily be gray.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that attempts to reverse gray hair cannot always be successful or possible.
Remember, people grow old and it is only but a natural part of the aging process.
However, adopting a healthy lifestyle - observe stress management, please - and using natural remedies may help slow down or prevent premature graying.
Consulting with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist may also be helpful in finding the best treatment options suitable for you to reverse gray hair.
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Karan Emery

Karan Emery

Author
Karan Emery, an accomplished researcher and leader in health sciences, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals, brings over two decades of experience to the table. Holding a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Stanford University, Karan's credentials underscore her authority in the field. With a track record of groundbreaking research and numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals, Karan's expertise is widely recognized in the scientific community. Her writing style is characterized by its clarity and meticulous attention to detail, making complex scientific concepts accessible to a broad audience. Apart from her professional endeavors, Karan enjoys cooking, learning about different cultures and languages, watching documentaries, and visiting historical landmarks. Committed to advancing knowledge and improving health outcomes, Karan Emery continues to make significant contributions to the fields of health, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Daniel James

Daniel James

Reviewer
Daniel James is a distinguished gerontologist, author, and professional coach known for his expertise in health and aging. With degrees from Georgia Tech and UCLA, including a diploma in gerontology from the University of Boston, Daniel brings over 15 years of experience to his work. His credentials also include a Professional Coaching Certification, enhancing his credibility in personal development and well-being. In his free time, Daniel is an avid runner and tennis player, passionate about fitness, wellness, and staying active. His commitment to improving lives through health education and coaching reflects his passion and dedication in both professional and personal endeavors.
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