Study finds stress can 'turn your hair grey' but colour can be restored

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A new study shows evidence of a link between psychological stress and greying hair. However, on a more positive note scientist have also found that hair colour can be restored when stress is eliminated.

The study's senior author Martin Picard, PhD, associate professor of behavioural medicine at Columbia University explains, "Understanding the mechanisms that allow 'old' grey hairs to return to their 'young' pigmented states could yield new clues about the malleability of human ageing in general and how it is influenced by stress."

The data will be added to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that human ageing is not a linear, fixed biological process but may, at least in part, be halted or even temporarily reversed.

READ MORE | Gwyneth Paltrow joins the growing list of celebrities accepting their grey hair

Experts developed a new way to capture detailed images of tiny slices of human hair to measure the extent of pigment loss, or greying. The study examined hairs from 14 volunteers who completed a diary to rate their level of stress on a weekly basis, and the hair slices were aligned with the diary entries to see if there was a link.

Researchers discovered some grey hairs were able to naturally return to their original colour.

The findings from the study, published in eLife, contradict a recent study that claimed stress-induced grey hairs are permanent in mice.

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