Ask the expert: Can stress really make your hair go grey?

Worrying that worry is behind the growth of grey hairs? A trichologist tells us the truth...

Greying hair seems to be firmly on the list of things we obsess over, especially as we get older. Luckily, it is becoming quite the trend to dye your hair grey or have those fashionable highlights that disguise the true signs of your hair losing its pigmentation. But is leading a stress-free life a way to keep greys at bay?

Harley Street trichologist and creator of Hair Today More Tomorrow, Sara G. Allison debunks the rumours:

Can stress cause your hair to grey?

“Yes, our follicles are subject to oxidative damage. This damages the DNA and accelerates the ageing process.”

What causes hair to go grey?

Although Sara has seen many middle-aged women with grey hair, she has also helped children and women ranging up into their 90s.

“Smoking, alcohol, vitamin deficiency and stress can cause oxidative damage and accelerate the ageing process. Antioxidants, such as vitamin A and E, can reverse the affects of ageing.”

[Read more: How to anti-age your hair at home]

Is it true you’ll grow more greys if you pull them out?

It may come as a relief to know that Sara dismisses the old wives' tale that if you pluck one grey hair out, two will grow back in its place. However, she still does not recommend this behaviour as it can develop into a condition called Trichotillomania, where you compulsively need to pull your hair out.

Sara also says: “It is scientifically impossible to grey overnight, but you can get shedding of pigmented hair that grows back white before gaining colour.”

What causes hair loss?

If it's not grey hair we're worrying about, it's hair loss. Sara says: “It's complex, and can be multi-factorial. Many health-related deficiencies, stress, smoking, medication and crash-dieting can all cause hair loss. It can also be self-inflicted.”

Her book, Hair Today More Tomorrow: How To Keep Your Hair On, The Ultimate Guide For Women deals with combating hair loss in women, something which she says can be quite straight-forward for men, but can cause much embarrassment for the opposite sex.

She suggests not to self-diagnose, but go for a consultation and get your blood tested by a trichologist who is registered with the Institute of Trichologists.

“Genetics play a part, but there are still things we can do.”

[Read more: 9 secrets to making thing fine hair look thicker]

How can you keep hair in good condition?

“Eating a healthy diet, getting enough nutrients, giving up smoking and alcohol, de-stressing as much as you can and trying to get enough sleep – seven to eight hours – all help,” says Sara.

Are you worrying about going grey? Tell us in the Comments box below

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