Does stress turn your hair gray? (Thinkstock)
Does stress turn your hair gray?
Lexile

You asked us, does stress turn your hair gray?

Hair gets its color when two types of pigment called melanin combine. Different proportions create a variety of shades. We don't yet understand the mechanics behind it, but hair follicles the 100,000 or so pits on our heads that sprout our hairs produce less melanin as we age. The result is gray hair.

While we could probably point a finger at stress, the timing of this color change is mostly a function of the genes you inherited from your parents. Stress can definitely trigger a higher rate of hair loss, though. So if you're no spring chicken and your hair follicles are producing less pigment, chances are the new strands that grow in will be gray and you could be sporting a salt-and-pepper look before you know it.

OK. So to summarize on gray hair, one, blame your parents and two, try not to stress out.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: Why does it take 100,000 hair follicles to cover our heads?

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COMMENTS (4)
  • Sarahs-OBr
    5/07/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    Why does it take 100,000 hair follicles to cover our head? Well, in this article, it says that follicles are the pits in our heads that sprout hair. I says this on the first paragraph. I think that we need about 100,000 hair follicles because each follicle is one hair, and you need a certtain amount of hair to cover your head. So in summary, we have lots of follicles to grow lots of hair.

    Lexile#1090L

  • EstrellaSalazar
    7/09/2015 - 11:01 p.m.

    This Article talk about hair an how it can change to grey color. In the text is mentioned the "melanin combine" and this is the responsible of the different hair colors, and the grey hair, Because the different proportions of this create a variety of shades, but when we age the hair follicles produce less melanin and as result we have grey hair.
    On the other hand we can say that the grey hair is a result of the stress. Yes, the stress produce something in our heads, but is not grey hair, stress produce a higher rate of hair loss. Besides, we can have grey hair for a function of the genes we inherited from our parents.
    Why does it take 100,000 hair follicles to cover our heads? I think is obviously, because our head is more bigger than a hair, so we need a lot of hair follicles to cover our "big" head.
    In my opinion I don't worry about my future hair, I think the beauty of people is inside, and the body, face and the rest is a little part of us.

  • myahr-orv
    3/21/2017 - 07:42 p.m.

    Why does it take 100,00 hair follicles to cover our head?
    Well, in this article, it say that follicles are the pits in our head that sprout hair. I says this on the first paragraph. I think that we need about 100,000 hair follicles because each follicle is on hair, and you need a certain amount of hair to cover your head. So in the summary, we have lots of follicles to grow lots of hair.

  • NolaD-kor
    10/27/2017 - 09:56 a.m.

    I never knew that stress turns your hair gray and is it telling me don't have stress.

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