UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
I always wonder why my hair get's white. My friends told me that it's because I get mad. But when I get mad , how come it doesn't get white in that moment?
Question Date: 2001-11-06
Answer 1:

My hair has been getting white since I was 18. Sounds like you started even earlier. What gives hair color are pigments that are made by hair cells. As the hair grows out of the cell, pigment is added to it. As the hair cells age, they stop putting pigment in the hair. There's no evidence that I know of that a person's hair turns white because they're scared or angry. Mostly, your genes determine when you will start getting gray or white hair. Smoking and a lack of some vitamins can make your hair go white faster.

Even after your cells stop putting color in your hair, it may take a while to notice it because the color change would be right next to your scalp at first. Sometimes I find a hair that is dark brown near the end, but white near the base. This shows that the hair cell stopped making pigment some time after my last haircut.

Answer 2:

I know that stress and many other factors can be a reason for hair turning grey - especially in young people. Now let me explain to you in more detail why hair can "loose" its color. Hair color is produced by a variety of human pigments, most notably, melanin. When hair grows, new melanin is produced and accumulates in the cells and colors the hair. People with grey hair make little or no melanin, therefore the hair is transparent and looks grey. As I mentioned already, there are several reasons why someone has grey hair. The biggest is heredity. If you have genes from your family that code for "turning off" the melanin production you may go gray at an early age. Another big reason for graying hair is the environment. Smokers are 4 times more likely to turn grey at an early age and so do people who have a B-12 deficiency or anemia or a virus. But these things are not well understood. No matter what your reasons are for having some grey hair, most likely it is in your genes and you can do nothing about it. But it doesn't hurt to try to eat healthy, never smoke and not get stressed. That way you stay healthy and you can do all the things you want to do.

Answer 3:

My dad's hair was almost white when I was still a young girl. My mother is 81 and her hair is almost black. My younger brother's hair is almost white, but my hair is still very dark, and so is my other younger brother's hair. My 2 younger brothers are only 7 yrs apart, but when my white-haired brother went skiing with his younger brother, people thought my white-haired brother was his dad! My white-haired brother wasn't very happy about that! Do you suppose our genes might help determine when we get gray hair?

My dark-haired younger brother used to have a white patch of hair over his forehead. We think that was from when he got hit with a baseball when he was a boy. I asked him why he didn't have it any longer, and he thinks he's bald there now. He showed me the bald parts under his hairline.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use