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Can Your Hair Turn White Overnight?

Nell is fascinated by science and some of the strange phenomenon that can occur which is beyond our knowledge of science.

Hair turn white overnight

Hair turn white overnight

But Is It True?

There is an old wives tale that if you have a shock or tragedy your hair will turn white over night. This story has been around for generations, but is there any truth in it?

We all know that as we age our hair will start to lose color, sometimes turning grey and even pure white the older we get.

But is it possible to receive such a shock to your system that somehow your hair will lose its color completely and be totally white the next day?

Scientists have been trying to work out this conundrum for many years now. And its not easy to study.

The trouble with stories such as these is the fact that many people will exaggerate and say, yes her hair was dark, but literally within a few hours the hair changed color completely.

Here we will look at a few examples and see if there really is any truth to the stories.

Rose Stone My Grandmother

Rose Stone my grandmother in her early 60s her hair turned white at the age of 54

Rose Stone my grandmother in her early 60s her hair turned white at the age of 54

A true story.......

'She knew he had died because she saw and heard him scream her name when she was at the kitchen sink. The starlight shone through the window with a flash of brilliance as though his soul had reached out to touch her, then retreated back into the darkness of eternity.*


She fell to the floor, her voice a scream of anguish, RON!!!! then gently she closed her eyes and closed her mind to the horror.

The next morning with a knock on the front door, she already knew what was about to happen. Her beloved son had been killed in the war.

She went into decline, not eating, drinking or sleeping becoming a whisper of self. Six months later her husband died too.

She fell into silence, seemed to shrink in her space as though trying to escape from the world, and when her daughter went to wake her, she found that her mothers beautiful tawny hair had turned white overnight'.

* Fact.

She had a premonition while washing crockery in the kitchen sink, she heard him scream 'mum' and saw a white light shoot across the sky and into the window'

The facts behind my family's story.

In the second world war her son, Ron, my uncle, was 22 years old. He was a Sergeant in the Royal Air Force. He was a pilot/navigator in a Lancaster bomber. On the 16th November 1942 his airplane crashed after a bombing raid over Germany.

My gran was devastated, as you can imagine. Only a few months later she lost her husband too. My Grandfather.

Over night her hair turned completely white. This fact is true as much as family history can be told without actually seeing it. My mother was also a Sergeant in the WAAFs, the women's Air Force, and all my family were highly intelligent, and not prone to exaggeration.

Listening to the stories since then I couldn't quite get to the bottom of the real story. Did her hair turn white literally overnight? Or was this the way to explain the fact that it happened over a few days or weeks?

We may not lie, but sometimes over the years a few days may turn into 'overnight' as part of the story.

She also developed epilepsy, very badly I have to add, and my aunt spent the rest of my grans life looking after her.

Let's Look At The Science.

What is hair made of?

Hair is made up from a protein called keratin that gets its pigmentation from melanin. If you are healthy and your hair is receiving the right amount of hormones then the hair will stay the color that its been all of your life.

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On the other hand if you suffer stress, illness such as some sort of immune deficiency where your body turns on itself, then the hormones will deplete and the hair will turn slowly grey.

If stress occurs there is another explanation to why people believe that their hair has turned grey or white within a few hours. The condition is called diffuse alopecia areata.

The result is that the colored hair will fall out overnight or within a few nights, and the grey that is already there in your hair will stay behind.

When the person looks in the mirror they will only see the resulting grey or white hair left behind. To them, they have turned white overnight.

Of course certain medications can affect hormones and pigmentation in the body too.


Captain Eric Moody

Captain Eric Moody

Captain Eric Moody

Even months after the event stress can take its toll.....

It may seem that we have got to the bottom of the stories. Hair cannot change color over night. But is that true?

Back in 1982, an airline Captain by the name of Eric Moody, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Perth. The flight was perfectly normal, no storms, and the crew were upbeat and looking forward to landing.

Suddenly out of the blue one of the engines failed as they were flying over Java. Within minutes, all four engines had stopped working.

Moody tried not to panic, and calmly told the crew and passengers that 'we have a small problem, the engines have stopped working, but we are trying to get them back and I hope this won't distress you too much' His calm saved the day.

Eric Moody managed to land at Jakarta Airport. Crew and passengers were saved. It turned out that a plume of ash from a Volcano was to blame for the engine failure.

Even though Eric didn't seem too disturbed, within a few months his hair started to turn white at the front, and by the end of the year his whole head was full of white hair!

Marie Antoinette hair went white

Marie Antoinette hair went white

The execution....

And its even happened to famous historic figures. Evidently the French Queen, Marie Antoinette was about to be sent to her execution. At the age of 37 its said that her hair turned white the night before her death. Fear had turned her hair completely white!

So is that what happened? Or had her hair been going white throughout her capture only to be noticed on the day of her execution?

Sir Thomas Moore, Councillor to Henry VIII was executed in the Tower of London, and its said that his hair also turned white overnight. He was 57, so its possible he suddenly developed the alopecia mentioned above. Some of his hair was already white? Possibly.

Alexander James Littlejohn on the Titanic

First class steward Alexander James Littlejohn’s hair completely white overnight after surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

First class steward Alexander James Littlejohn’s hair completely white overnight after surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

Alexander James Littlejohn

Alexander James Littlejohn was a first class steward on the tragic ship Titanic. As the ship was sinking, he helped to save hundreds of women and children by quickly placing them into 13 life boats.

After he had finished he was ordered by the Officer in charge of the boat to get in and row away from the disaster which was taking place right in front of his eyes.

In 1912 he gave a statement to the Daily Telegraph stating: 'I got 35 children and women into boat 13, we were shouting for more to come but there were no more that we could see, the officer told two of us to get into the boat and row as quickly as possible. I was one of the fortunate ones'

He went on to say later in his statement: 'As the boat went down there were terrible cries for help, they were both terrifying and heartbreaking'.

Alexander was 40 years old in the above first photograph, and the second was taken six months later.

This account is by his grandson Philip Littlejohn who is patron of the Titanic Heritage Trust in Coventry England.

He goes on to say:

'My grandfather’s hair and eyebrows went white with the effects of the shock'.

Last But Not Least......

Nicola Howe's hair turned white within seven days of giving birth to her daughter Jade. She was in hospital after the traumatic birth and was dark haired before.

Nicola Howe's hair turned white within seven days of giving birth to her daughter Jade. She was in hospital after the traumatic birth and was dark haired before.

Nicola Howe gave birth to her daughter Jade and seven days later her hair had turned completely white! The birth was so traumatic, Nicola had to stay in hospital. The change in her hair color was witnessed by nurses!

So it may not have been literally overnight, but it was pretty close!

Conclusion.

Some say yes, some say no but.....

Even though science has more or less proved that hair cannot turn white over night, the fact that stress and terrible trauma can work on the hair follicles and wipe out all color over the space of weeks or months is just as dramatic I believe.

To think that something so traumatic can happen to make your body literally go chemically mad so to speak is amazing and sad at the same time.

For all we know, hair may turn white overnight but its never been proven completely. What we do know is that in the above cases, the trauma these people and my gran especially had to go through doesn't bear thinking about.

Sometimes science knows all the answers, at other times its still wavering on the edge of truth.

Do You Know Of Anyone Who's Hair Has Turned White Overnight?

Please leave your comments below, I would love to hear your stories!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Nell Rose

Comments

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 22, 2015:

LOL! thanks quicksand, now that made me laugh!

quicksand on September 21, 2015:

GOD bless L'oreal!

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 21, 2015:

Thanks Dianna, yes it was strange just how quickly my grans hair changed to white, stress really is the main culprit, thanks for reading, nell

Dianna Mendez on September 20, 2015:

I've heard the expression but not seen it actually happen to someone. I think it can happen within months. Our presidents seem to age and turn gray within a short time after being in office. Stress related jobs can cause this. You kept my interest throughout the article. Well done!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 28, 2015:

Hi Colleen, thanks you too, nell

Colleen Diemer from Florida on July 28, 2015:

Sure is strange. the body can only handle so much. You take care my friend. Make sure you get your rest. Colleen

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 27, 2015:

Hiya Colleen, thanks for reading, yes its amazing isn't it? science is strange sometimes, I suppose its peoples hormones that kick these things into place, nell

Colleen Diemer from Florida on July 26, 2015:

Thanks for a great post. My beautiful grandmother's hair was completely white by 25. I do not know much about her childhood but I can't imagine it was easy. I think her sister died from a terrible disease. I did witness a friends mother at my friends funeral look like she had aged 20 years. it was so frightening and shocking. yes her dark hair was mostly white. Very tragic. I was a hairdresser and went to cosmetology school and this article fascinates me.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 16, 2015:

Thanks grand old lady, yes its more that the hair grows through white than the actual head of hair turning white, but its still amazing though isn't it, thanks, nell

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 15, 2015:

What an interesting story! I like how you showed both sides of the issue, but I think it would be reasonable for someone's hair to turn grey overnight if s/he has undergone a lot of stress. This was a compelling article:)

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 19, 2015:

Hi Ariel, yes I believe you are right, it is an exaggeration, and after reading your comment and my family too I think that's true, stress can cause so grey hair, funny how our bodies react to stress, isn't it? thanks so much for reading, nell

Ariel Laur from New York on April 19, 2015:

Maybe add another choice to your poll because my answer would have been that I have family members whose hair has gone gray, I believe due to stress, and then gone back to its original color but over months, not overnight. It is because of this that I don't believe that aging is the singular cause of graying. It seems like when the word "overnight" is used it is merely an exaggeration.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 16, 2015:

Hi Cris, yes sometimes our genes can make our hair go grey early, I have no idea what color my hair is, I always dye it! lol! thanks

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on April 16, 2015:

You always have interesting hubs Nell. Well, my hair started greying in my 30's. My dad had grey hair in his 20's. Grandma always had greyish/whitish hair. Did they turn grey overnight? Guess not, but I believed it's in the genes and I'd leave it that way.

L'Oreal is my friend now. :)

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 13, 2015:

Wow, that sounds fascinating! thanks so much again, nell

Darcie French from BC Canada on April 13, 2015:

A good deal of hair in my bangs turned white within weeks of a high spiritual state of deep surrender.

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 03, 2015:

LOL! trust you Michael! thanks for the laugh!

Micheal from United Kingdom on April 03, 2015:

Mine feels like it went white overnight for sure lol.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 31, 2015:

lol! Jackie, just commented on your hub then noticed that you had sneaked over to mine! and yes I will let you ramble on its fine, I am used to it....LOL! take care of your neck, and hope it gets better soon, nell

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 31, 2015:

Yes; please always delete me when I come rambling in talking crazy!! lol

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 31, 2015:

Hi Pamela, thanks so much for reading, I am glad you liked it, nell

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2015:

Nell, I always love to read your hubs as you choose such interesting topics to write about. I have heard of this happening, but I have no personal experience. Great hub!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 30, 2015:

Hi Besarien, that's amazing! especially about the guy who's hair turned back to normal! thanks so much for reading, nell

Besarien from South Florida on March 29, 2015:

Hi Nell Rose! This is said to have happened to my grandmother. She woke up with one white streak in her otherwise black hair. All in one clump in the front about the diameter of a quarter maybe. This was when she was in her twenties. Her sisters would not for the longest time believe she hadn't bleached it. She never got anymore grey hair than that and lived into her sixties. She didn't like it. She thought it made her look like a skunk but wasn't bothered enough to dye her hair.

Also one of my friends told me about an uncle who underwent chemo for a tumor on his lung. He lost all his grey hair but when it grew back it was the same brown he had started out with in life. Everyone took it as a good omen for his recovery.

Great hub! Your topics are always fascinating. Your writing is always a joy to read.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 13, 2015:

LOL! that's okay Jackie! we all have a brain freeze sometimes! I just deleted it, okay?

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 12, 2015:

Oops sorry Nell; this may be a first; I left a comment I thought on my hub on yours! SO so sorry; lol. I am really out of it.

Yea on the collar it is really bad but worth the price!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 12, 2015:

Hi Jackie, lol! yes he is getting a bit annoyed I think! Kates family are pretty strange though, a bit of an embarrassment! Sorry I missed your Birthday! Happy Birthday! that's great that you have got your spine sorted out, my ex partner had to wear a collar for a while too, hope its not too uncomfortable, at least you are on the mend, that's great!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 11, 2015:

Been meaning to stop by all day to say I saw an 8th month picture of Kate; carrying low...means a girl. I hear Charles is getting jealous of the Middletons! lol

Yesterday was my birthday and I got my spine fixed (Myelopathy); came home today! Medicine is just miraculous isn't it? Still get 30 days in a collar though!

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 03, 2015:

Hi Frances, took another look, and I found this, maybe it will help?

http://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/14919/w...

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 03, 2015:

Hi Frances, fascinating story, I tried to look it up but couldn't find the explanation I was looking for. But I do remember reading a few years ago of a man, Chinese, if I remember, who reached the grand old age of 112 I think it was, his hair was grey, but as he aged his hair turned black again! I can't find the story on here, but I remember it being something that surprised me at the time, not sure how it worked though, thanks again, and if I can find it I will let you know, nell

Frances on March 03, 2015:

I have a mystery for you Nell. Some background info first. My father who is 87 years old went white within a few months at the age of 35 when my mother became very ill. Since then fifty two years have passed. My father had a leg amputated at the age of 80 due to a soft tissue Sarcoma and my mother died of dementia two years ago after they had been married for sixty years. All of a sudden last year we noticed his hair around his hairline at the sides and back, his eyebrows, his beard and a little on top of his head has started to go black again. We are baffled. Any ideas?

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 16, 2015:

Hi Deb, thanks so much for reading, yes its a strange thing isn't it?

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 15, 2015:

It sure is food for thought. Another mystery to decipher. You always make us think about the possibilities.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 14, 2015:

Hi Peggy, yes its amazing isn't it? my grandad went white very early on, but the rest of my family didn't, mind you my mum and me both dyed our hair so maybe underneath this lovely blond head is pure white or grey! lol! thanks as always, nell

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2015:

There may be a hereditary factor at work also. My grandmother was completely white haired at age 35. Several people I know from that side of her family were also white haired at very young ages. I have my fair share of graying to white hair but I am decades older before it started appearing.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 07, 2015:

Hi Glimmer, yes the Titanic guy was proof wasn't he? that must have been so traumatic for him, no wonder his hair turned white, glad you liked it, and thanks so much, nell

Tony Sky from London UK on February 07, 2015:

It's true Nell.! btw, I said friend but I meant acquaintance.

Claudia Porter on February 07, 2015:

Hi Nell - I've heard this a number of times before, but have never seen these stories. I'm especially intrigued by the man from the Titanic. It does make some sense that trauma can change hair color. It can do all sorts of things to the body.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 03, 2015:

Hi Case, there you go then! it seems that it does work! that must have been horrifying for her, poor woman! thanks as always, nell

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on February 02, 2015:

I had a neighbour who used to live in Beirut and she had a white streak in her jet black hair- she said it appeared shortly after a rocket attack had decimated where she lives- so maybe it is true

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 02, 2015:

Hi ignugent, thanks so much for reading, yes sometimes genetics makes hair go grey early, our family were mainly reds! lol!

ignugent17 on February 01, 2015:

Very interesting hub! I got cousin that has gray hair at age 20 but they say it is in the genes.

Great information. :-)

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi kitty, yes not sure about the actual overnight for hair on the head, but definitely in the follicles under the skin, hence the hair grows through white, thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi travmaj, lol! me too! my hair has been dyed since I was 18 years old! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi Compu-smart now are you kidding me or not? lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi Jo, LOL! Grandma Elsie? LOL! thanks for making me laugh! then again you always do! have a wonderful weekend, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Thanks Peach, yes its a weird thing isn't it? thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi Dressage, that's very young to go grey, amazing isn't it? I never knew that people could go grey that early in life, I learned something new, so thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 30, 2015:

Hi Audrey, wow, thats' such an early age! I wonder why that happened? I bet those kids didn't leave the poor kid alone, glad you looked after her, thanks as always, nell

Kitty Fields from Summerland on January 30, 2015:

I've never heard of this actually happening...always saw it in cartoons as a child that when someone was scared their hair would turn "white as a ghost". And you hear of it in folklore and such...very intriguing that it actually happens to people overnight! Thanks for sharing.

travmaj from australia on January 30, 2015:

Nell - I do agree with you. When I was a kid, (yikes, many moons ago) but I do recall many hush hush conversations of trauma and hair turning grey instantly. It always seemed to me that it was an expected occurrence.

Have to giggle a bit - I mean, my hair might have turned grey under stress but no-one would notice under the (cough/splutter) enhanced colour. Don't think I want to find out. Cheers, Maj

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 29, 2015:

Hi Vellur, thanks so much for reading, yes its amazing isn't it? sometimes science doesn't always get it right, thanks, nell

Tony Sky from London UK on January 29, 2015:

I know some guy who bought an ounce of crack and stayed in and smoked the whole lot over the weekend and his hair turned all grey/white, just like that!

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on January 29, 2015:

lol well Nell your descriptive word was just fitting :) he he he. Or okay yeah well I haven't seen your mum but you look like grandma Elsie lol.

Hope you are having a swell time.... well I a freezing in the ac at work and when i get out the sun is cooking your skin.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 29, 2015:

Wow i didn't know that extreme stress coyld turn our hair white overnight, must be careful

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on January 29, 2015:

I have heard of these stories, but never seen anyone where it happened that fast. There were a pair of Swedish twins at school with me that both turned grey by their teens, but that took several years to happen starting with just a few greys when they were still under eleven.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 29, 2015:

I had a friend who's hair turned gray at age 16. The kids would tease her in school. I would eat lunch with her to give her support.

This is such a fascinating hub that I'm going to share!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 28, 2015:

Interesting, I have heard hair going gray over years but in such a short time, no. Enjoy reading your hubs because it has something so new that I have never heard of and your present amazing facts that totally baffle me! Voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Chitrandada, thanks so much, amazing how much this info is around the world but never really been looked into before!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Larry, I would imagine the hormone does have that effect, I remember working with a young girl a few years ago, some sort of stress happened in her family and she got alopecia, all her hair fell out! not sure if it ever grew back, but the last time I saw here she was still wearing a wig, so maybe not! great to see you!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Faith, LOL! yes I tend to go for the light natural blond! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Alicia, thanks so much, yes it's a strange thing isn't it? not something I would have thought of if it hadn't happened to my gran, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Thanks schoolgirl, long time no see? glad you haven't left, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi MsDora, aw thanks so much! lol! hope your having a wonderful day, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Gals, great to see you, and thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Audrey, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi mary, thanks as always, yes the story of my gran was something we grew up with, have a great day!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hi Pamela, yes many people say they have grey hair from an early age in their family, or even dark hair until they are older, in fact I remember reading about one guy, Chinese man I think, who was totally grey until he got to his mid 90s then he went dark again! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 28, 2015:

Hiya Jo, lol! your director souns like an ass himself! and yes everyone says my mum gran and me all look alike! its in the genes lol! especially the crooked nose!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 28, 2015:

Very interesting hub and very well written!

I have read in a story that in ancient times there was a king, who was so shocked to learn about his wife's death that he closed himself in the room where her body was lying and that overnight his hair turned white. This might be true, who knows!

But going through your hub is always interesting for sure! Thanks and voted up!

Larry Fields from Northern California on January 28, 2015:

Hi Nell,

Extraordinary hub, as always. Again, I appreciate your balanced treatment of the subject. Voted up and interesting.

On a related note, I had a housemate during part of the Vietnam War. Gary was sweating out The Draft (conscription), and desperately wanted to avoid killing innocent people in SE Asia. (The Vietnam War was very different from WW2.)

Gary was nearing the cutoff point at age 26. He had taken all of the usual precautions -- including getting braces for his teeth. (How many people have absolutely perfect teeth?)

Within a few 'overnights', the hair on the top of his head had all fallen out. When Gary got the good news that he had failed the Draft physical, his hair quickly grew back.

Conventional wisdom has it that when men go bald, it's because of high levels of the hormone, DHT. Does emotional stress increase DHT to that extent?

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 27, 2015:

Yes, L'oreal is great and the ones with the word natural in it is best LOL ....dark "natural" blond; medium "natural" blond and light or lightest "natural" blond. I wish I could put photos in a comment to show you the before and after having my first baby. Crazy!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2015:

This is an interesting and enjoyable hub, as always, Nell. I love hubs that give me things to think about!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Hi Ruby, lol! yes nice and easy is really, well easy! I use it all the time.....lol! interesting story about the marine, and yes I quite believe it! thanks as always, nell

Rosemary Amrhein on January 27, 2015:

Nell, you write an interesting article as usual! Never heard of this before till now!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 27, 2015:

Nell, I bet your blood type is "amazing." Never heard of any such thing as hair turning white overnight, but I'll be inquiring. Interesting article (as always).

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Thanks Ann, I have always wondered about this, and its interesting to see the different stories, as they say truth is stranger than fiction! lol!

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on January 27, 2015:

I was absolutely fascinated by your article. I had hear about the occurrence but had always wondered.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 27, 2015:

I have heard tales but never really met anyone who knew someone whose hair had turned that quickly--

Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 27, 2015:

I have no first hand knowledge of hair turning white overnight, but I would not doubt it could happen after a horrific shock of some kind.

Very interesting read! Voted Up, etc and shared.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 27, 2015:

I have heard of this happening, but have no personal experience with the overnight change. This was a very interesting article, and I wonder if it might happen very rarely. I think genetics have something to do with the age your hair starts changing to gray. I know a man that is 72 and doesn't have more than a couple of strands of gray hair in his full head of dark brown hair. Great article and shared!

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on January 27, 2015:

Hmmm well my hair is brown in colour with one silver grey strand which i developed from stress from our Director at work. He is a pure ......... "complete the sentence with any desired word that would fit a braying animal " :) .

Luckily i am not there anymore because my hair would have sure turned grey overnight in my 20's :( what a site, I think it would have completed it with all my presents aches and pains.

On another note you look like your granny just a younger version.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Thanks DDE yes it does seem as though science can sometimes get it wrong! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Hi Stephanie, lol! I bet they were all gossiping! I am glad you liked it, and thanks so much, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Hi Daisy, yes I can quite believe that! my gran, (above) had the same thing happen, I am sure it was over a few weeks waiting for the hair to grow, but the follicles obviously lost their color overnight, so in that sense I totally believe it, thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Hi Lizzy, I think what they mean by 'hair turning white overnight' is an actual reality. but not in the way we think. If you think about it, the hair as you said on the head is already out there, but the follicles underneath the skin can be zapped, for a better word, the second it happens, of course it won't show for a few days or even weeks but it does in fact turn white overnight, just not on the surface, thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 27, 2015:

Hi Faith, dark? Wow! now that is different! you must have had a burst of hormones there then! I would love to be naturally blond, been blond since I was 18! lol! thank goodness for L'oreal! LOL! thanks as always, nell

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 27, 2015:

I was told a story about a marine whose hair turned white overnight in a foxhole on Iwo Jima Island. He said that he was young in his 20's. I have not seen this. Nell, your hub is very interesting. I think anything is possible. Thank God for ' nice and easy. ' Hee.

Ann Carr from SW England on January 27, 2015:

I've heard of this happening but have no personal knowledge of it. I do believe, though, that stress can do amazing things. It can greatly affect our health so why not our hair?!

Great hub, Nell, full of fascinating research and excellent writing.

A great read.

Ann

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 27, 2015:

I had no idea of one's hair going white in such a period. Interesting and fascinating indeed!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on January 26, 2015:

I love your hubs when you take a story that most of us believe is just that - a story- and make us rethink the possibility of it's truth. I don't personally know of anyone who has turned white overnight, though some of my friends might think I did when I gave up dying my hair and cut off the dark colored ends! Viola! I was white haired! :)

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on January 26, 2015:

Nell,

I read your article with great interest. I know a woman whose hair is completely white ... not grey ... white. She says that she had had a great emotional shock, and her hair turned white within a very short period of time.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 26, 2015:

You certainly come up with unusual and interesting topics, Nell!

I've heard of this, of course, but I have my doubts. The follicles may well suddenly stop producing color, but there is really no way for that to affect the hair already showing on the outside of your head.

That hair is essentially "dead," otherwise, it would hurt when you cut your hair. The hair 'looks healthy' or not because of keeping it clean, and shiny, at least in part from the oils on the scalp, which get distributed down the hair shafts by brushing.

The entire head of hair turning white "overnight" or even within a few days? I don't think so. The existing hair would have to fall out first, and the new, 'colorless' hair re-grow back to the original length. That's going to take quite some time. I just don't see how this "overnight white" is at all possible.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 26, 2015:

Oh, I believe this, Nell, for I had natural childbirth with my first child, my daughter, and overnight, although my hair did not turn white, it went the other way and turned completely dark! So strange! It has gradually lightened back up over time and now trying to get some gray! I was quite taken aback when I saw it, for I am a natural dishwater blonde and during the summer the blond gets brighter naturally. I had to make amends back then and now lol. It still lightens up a great deal during the summer, especially living in southern USA where it is so very hot and the sun shines all the time here.

Thanks for sharing your interesting family stories too.

Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 26, 2015:

Thanks so much Flourish, yes it definitely seems that stress in all forms turns the hair white, that's why I believe the more stress the quicker the hair color turn, glad you liked it, nell

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 26, 2015:

Although certainly not overnight, I do know that my brother's hair has rapidly turned white. I think the five kids he has don't help. He is younger than I am but I have far darker hair (and only one child). Stress will do it to you. Such an interesting hub, Nell!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 26, 2015:

Hi Ladyguitar, Wow! I am not surprised that her hair turned white! that's enough to cause anyone complete stress! I hope they all came home safely? thanks, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 26, 2015:

Hi lovedoc, yes genetics could make it worse I am sure too, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 26, 2015:

Hi Jean, I am so sorry for your loss, I am sure the stress did make your hair turn grayer, it must have been such a hard time for you, thank you so much for reading, nell

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on January 26, 2015:

My husbands friends mothers hair turned completely white. She had 5 boys and each one went to Vietnam about the same time. Within a few weeks her hair was white. My husband came home from the Army and could not believe it was her.

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