Your head is going to explode because of the close deadline of an unfinished project?
Your heart rhythm is going wild while you're out with your lover, not with your wife?
Are you a single mother struggling between work and kids?
Or just racking your brains while cramming for exams?
All these problems turned your hair gray?
Well, that's a myth, a huge lie, a bogus ..."While we've all blamed our fading locks on stress, in reality, there is no proven link. Hair grays when cells stop producing the color pigment, melanin," said Miller, associate professor of dermatology in Penn State's College of Medicine. "It's a natural part of the aging process. There are three phases to the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen
and telogen." explained Miller.
During the two to four years long anagen (active phase), hair grows rapidly. When it passes into the two weeks catagen phase, the hair stops growing. In the several months telogen stage, the inactive older hairs are being replaced by new hairs. "The telogen hairs are those that you find in your comb or at the bottom of the bathtub," said Miller. "The average person loses 50 to 100 of these strands during daily activities. As we age, each cycle gets shorter and shorter. And, in turn, the shortened cycles accelerate the breakdown of melanin."
The melanin is synthesized in melanocyte cells and gives the color of skin, of the eye's iris and hair. Larger amounts means darker skin, brown eyes, black hair and lower means brighter skin, blue eyes and blonde hair.
White hair has no melanin at all; in fact, they are colorless and the white color is just a light effect (polar bears also have incolor hairs, they just seem white). "Gray hair is a mixture of pigmented hair and white hair. The process normally begins in one's 30s, but gray hair may become visible as early as one's teens," said Miller.
It is something more linked to heredity, the same as baldness. "Look at your father, your mother, your siblings. If they went gray early, chances are that you will, too."
The melanin breakdown is hard to treat. "Some medical treatments like radiation therapy have unexpectedly caused gray patients to go dark again," said Miller. "Scientists can't explain it, but researchers, especially in the cosmetic industry, are searching for an answer to the connection."
The link with stress has not been proven scientifically. "Stress is an engineering term. And the medical community does not yet fully understand its effect on the body."
Going gray is something that comes naturally with the aging process and should be worn with pride as a sign of wisdom. In fact, sometimes it can be turned into an ace up on your sleeve: look at Richard Gere or George Clooney, ones of the Hollywood's sex symbols.