Stress does not turn a person’s hair gray. However, stress can initiate a phenomenon that will make the hair shed a lot faster than normal. This can also lead to the graying of the hair follicles because of the loss of certain cells that deposit pigments into each hair strand.
It is important to understand that hair does not turn gray. Hair undergoes a cycle of growth wherein it grows new hair and then sheds them. There is also a resting period in between these stages, too.
Whenever we shed hair, new ones replace them. The hair follicles contain stem cells that deposit natural pigments. Without these stem cells, there is no pigment in the hair. This leads to the formation of non-pigmented or ‘gray’ hair.
Stress has a major role to play when it comes to the shedding of hair. It can accelerate the process of hair shedding by up to three times. This accelerated shedding does not give ample time for the hair to regenerate. There is a loss of the stem cells. Or, there is not enough of them to produce the necessary pigments to color the hair.
People who are not stressed can still have gray hair. Vitiligo, smoking, and vitamin B12 deficiency can exacerbate the graying of hair.