Gray Hair Pattern

Gray hair cut in a pixie
Q: I would like to know why grey hair mainly grows at the middle of my head instead of the sides or at the temple like most people I know. Some people say it's because I think too much or am highly stressed. Is there any link or is it another old wives' tale?
A: The development of gray hair in an individual is a process that is governed primarily by genetics. You see gray hair forms as a result of the degradation of the melanocytes in the hair follicle. As we age, the cells in our body replicate and eventually the replicated cells break down more rapidly. This can be increased by damaging UV rays and stress.
The pattern in which the gray hair develops, therefore, is basically genetically predetermined, although stresses and other factors can influence the effect. So, while stress won't necessarily make someone who isn't predetermined to having gray hair go gray, it is widely believed that it can make those who are likely to develop gray hair do so more quickly.
The idea of gray hair being caused in one area because you "think too much" probably comes as a result of the fact that people who are stressed (or are prone to stress) find that their mind races. They tend to dwell on the issues causing their stress and therefore end up being thought of as someone who "thinks too much". And when they go gray before they think they should naturally do so, it is blamed on their habit of dwelling on their problems.
Photo: Y Photo Studio/Shutterstock
See also:
Going gray
How and why hair turns gray
Hair turning gray overnight from stress of shock