Stressed Out

Stressed out over grey hair?! Join the club!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Blonde, brunette, redhead — where do all those shades come from? As our hair grows, pigment-producing stem cells slowly turn into colored cells. BUT over time, we start to see some of them go grey! Could it be STRESS?

Bing Zhang and colleagues from Harvard University investigated. They started by stressing mice hair cells with a chemical called RTX.

This stress wakes up the nervous system – think your fight or flight response. The nervous system then releases a ton of a compound called norepinephrine. That’s what tells your body to shake some action and RUN!

So? Under stress, norepinephrine ALSO causes your hair stem cells to run away! Zhang discovered that the compound converts stem cells into colored cells TOO quickly. Once they are converted, your body is unable to replenish them. Hair grows without color!

So keep calm – and keep the greys away!

MY grey hairs however? I call them…wisdom highlights!