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Silver Lining

Why does our hair go grey? Can severe stress really turn it white overnight? While it is an inevitable part of the ageing process, what changes can you make to slow fading to grey?

As we age, our hair goes grey when the body produces less of the pigment, melanin. Air pockets replace melanin in the hair shaft, resulting in silver-grey hair. When this happens, varies a great deal and is down to genetics. In most cases, greying hair occurring in someone in their twenties is more likely to be influenced by their genes, however stress, dietary issues, and health problems can be factors which can cause premature grey hair by lowering the production of pigment.


In extreme circumstances, it is believed that hair can suddenly turn white due to acute psychological stress. The most famous case being that of Marie Antoinette, whose hair famously turned grey overnight prior to her going to the guillotine.


But if you’re not facing the wrath of the French revolution, is there anything else you can do to prevent, or at least prevent, premature greys?  


Making sure that your vitamin levels are topped up is a good start. Deficiencies in B vitamins (folic acid, biotin, and B12), vitamin D, iron, and selenium have been associated with grey hair in in young adults and even children.


Smoking has also been linked, along with air pollution. So, if you’re not quite ready to embrace being a ‘silver fox’, consider making a few dietary and lifestyle changes but if you do spot a few grey hairs, have some cake. After all, it’s not worth losing your head over it.


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