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Cheveux blancs : Sagesse ou stress ? Révélations sur un phénomène capillaire intrigant. Danielle Couture, photo prise par ROSE AUX JOUES

White hair, a symbol of wisdom or withering?

Why do we hide our white hair? Although they are said to symbolize wisdom, most people are ashamed of these white threads. Women color them while men cut them as short as possible to hide them. For some people, white hair becomes an obsession. The pandemic has had this good side: many of you have abandoned artificial color to make way for natural color. Well done, because it's definitely not an easy decision to make. And I know very few people who have gone back.

But where do these white hairs come from? The most recurring cause is stress. They can also appear when we experience major worries, fear, shock, fatigue or a lack of essential nutrients. Genetics also has a role to play. The average age for the appearance of white hair is around 35 years old.

Research has shown that our cells produce hydrogen peroxide. As we age, production increases and disrupts the production of melanin, responsible for the color of our hair. Sometimes the process is very quick. Several people pass by my chair every day, and I have observed this very often among my clients. Following great stress, white hair can cover double the area within four weeks. And this, as much for men as for women.

White hair is not necessarily a sign of weakening. A return to the 17th and 18th centuries tells us that kings wore perfect white wigs. They used flour and talc to whiten them. Today, in the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth states, judges still wear the white wig which symbolizes higher authority and respect.

I have noticed white hair in young children a few times. As I have not yet found an explanation for this phenomenon, I would like to do a case study. So if you know young children with white hair, I invite you to contact me.

I advise everyone who decides to stop coloring to discuss it with their hairdresser. This process can take place gradually thanks to transition solutions. For example, you can lighten your hair or dare to have a radical cut. White hair sometimes turns yellow due to smoking, pollution, sun and an oily scalp. Fortunately, there are purple shampoos that reduce these reflections. But be careful, you must prioritize quality purple shampoos, and above all, not overuse them. Otherwise, you may end up with bluish reflections.

In summer, wear hats to protect your hair. At the same time, you will protect your face. And, let's try to reduce stress which is the primary cause of the appearance of white hair at a young age. Do we really need to live under pressure? No. But that's probably easier said than done.

Publication in Le P'tit Journal de Woburn
Journal November December 2022 (calameo.com)

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