We’ve heard all sorts of myths about grays over the years—what’s the real deal? If there’s one thing that baffles us in particular, it’s what ultimately causes gray hair. Does stress actually promote this issue? Is it genetics? Something else?
To help us understand this matter a bit better, we turned to hair impresario Frédéric Fekkai.
So, What Causes Gray Hair?
“We might blame our stressful job or other stress factors in our life for our grays, but genetics really dictates how early and how quickly it happens,” the FEKKAI founder tells Mane Addicts. “So if your parents had a full head of gray hair in their 30s, there’s a good chance you will as well. Stress doesn’t cause gray hair. It’s a myth.”
While he says there’s, unfortunately, no way to prevent grays, people with thyroid disease, vitiligo, and lack of vitamin B12 are more likely to experience the issue early on.
Ultimately, “We get grey hair when our pigment cells start to die,” Frédéric explains. “Our hair follicles have pigment cells that make melanin. Melanin is a chemical that gives your hair its color. Without pigment or the lack of melanin, new hair strands grow in lighter and take on various shades of gray, silver, and eventually white. Once a follicle stops making melanin, it won’t make colored strands again.”
And there we have it. Turns out stress isn’t the leading cause of gray hairs, unlike what we’ve been led to believe. It really comes down to your genetics. If you’re blessed with strands that won’t go gray, you’ve definitely won the lottery. If not, don’t stress. There are a number of ways to cover them up. Or, you can embrace them. The choice is yours.