Can Stress Really Lead to Premature Grey Hair?

grey hair - Sriramakrishnahospital

Have you heard your friends or family say do not worry too much your hair will turn grey? Well we all have right. But is it really true? That is the question that bothers everyone, especially people in their 20s to 30s. Greying hair has truly been a nightmare, and the stress levels you experience aren’t making it any better. In today’s time, the amount of stress we experience is inevitable, we go through a lot of stress at the workplace and at times even at home. Let’s understand the connection between grey hair and stress.

Understanding your hair and hair color:

The color of your hair is determined by melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells. These cells are present in the hair follicle and keep producing melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of your skin, hair, and eyes. There are two primary kinds of melanin:


These cells are responsible for brown and black hair


These cells are responsible for red and blonde hair. As we age, the number of melanocytes in the hair follicles gradually decreases. This decrease leads to a reduction in melanin production, as a result stress causes grey hair

How can stress lead to greying of hair?

Although mentioned previously stress can cause greying of hair, stress does not directly cause white hair at a young age. The stress you experience increases the oxidative stress in the hair bulbs, and can accelerate the greying process. Oxidative stress produces free radicals that can damage the melanocytes and lead to grey hair.

Also increased stress levels are known to increase the production of noradrenaline, which is responsible to send signals to melanocytes to leave and that can further cause loss of pigment in hair. Good news is that stress induced grey hair can be reversed by following certain tips. 

What are the other possible causes of grey hair?

While stress can be a major contributing factor, it is important to remember that it is not the only culprit behind premature greying. Here are some of the factors that can play a role,


Hair greying is highly influenced by your genes. If your parents or grandparents had grey hair at a young age, you are more likely to experience it too. 

Autoimmune diseases:

Certain autoimmune diseases, such as vitiligo or alopecia, can affect melanocyte function and lead to hair greying. Consult the best dermatologist in Coimbatore if you are facing grey hair issues.

Nutritional deficiencies:

Deficiencies in vitamins like B12, biotin, and copper can impact melanin production and contribute to greying and  hair loss


Smoking is a known risk factor for premature greying. It reduces blood flow to the scalp and increases oxidative stress, both of which can damage melanocytes. 

Can stress-induced greying be reversed?

Unfortunately, you cannot completely reverse the greying of hair once it is grey. But good news is that you can prevent further greying and you can reverse greying of hair to a certain level. Here are the top tips that could help:

Stress management techniques:

Practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and spending time in nature can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being. 

Healthy diet:

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein provides your body with nutrients it needs for healthy hair growth and melanin production. 


Consider taking vitamin B12, biotin, and copper supplements after consulting a dermatologist at the best skin care hospital in Coimbatore, to address any potential deficiencies. 

Scalp care:

Massage your scalp gently to enhance blood circulation and encourage hair growth. Maintaining a clean and healthy scalp environment is also important. 

What are the tips to reduce stress levels?

When your body begins to relax you can experience the feeling of your stress fading away, like the heart rate slows down, breathing becomes slower and deeper. There are various ways to relieve stress that include:

Try deep breathing techniques:

Sit comfortably, and intentionally start taking deep breaths as this helps in slowing down the heart beat, and helps to take your mind off the things that are bothering you,

Consider mindfulness:

The psychological practice of intentionally focusing attention on the present, is known as mindfulness. To put it simply, mindfulness refers to living in the present without any judgments. This helps to free your mind from worrying about the past or future and enables you to concentrate on the work at hand. 

Develop a healthy sleep routine:

The quality of your sleep has a big impact on how stressed you are. Take these suggestions into consideration to help build healthy sleep routine:

  • Make an effort to stick to a daily schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time. 
  • Avoid using any digital screens before going to bed, and keep your bedroom dim lighted. 
  • Stay away from heavy, spicy meals and caffeine. 

Get regular exercise:

Exercising helps release the happy hormones like endorphins, and this hormone helps in reducing the stress levels. 

At what age does hair turn grey?

Usually everyone experiences greying of hair, and the average age of greying is in 30s. But due to several reasons few people experience grey hair a lot earlier. 

Important Takeaway:

The link between stress and greying of hair is a complex one. While stress may not be the only cause, it can be a part of it. By understanding what is causing your greying of hair, and following tips to avoid or overcome it, along with following a healthy lifestyle can help in preventing premature greying of hair.

grey hair - Sriramakrishnahospital

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