Stress turns you grey

By Amy Lawrenson

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Stress can trigger lots of unwanted side effects - tension headaches, acid reflux, weight gain around the tummy, high blood pressure and now, according to a survey from John Frieda, grey hair. Almost a third (32%) of British women asked under 30 have already started to go grey, which is almost double the amount as 20 years ago, when the brand counted only 18%.

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Only this weekend one of my girlfriends spotted a grey hair, while another has been going grey since our university days. According to Professor Cary L Cooper, CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology & Health at Lancaster University, 'Today pressure is setting in earlier in women’s lives – stress associated with finding a university place, a job following their studies, and then working long hours at work to secure their position. And if a woman chooses to have a family, as well as a career, her life can become incredibly frantic'.

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John Frieda launched the results of the survey to coincide with its new John Frieda® Precision Foam Colour, £7.99, great if you're grey - but it's important to look at what caused the stress that turned you grey in the first place. According to trichologist Philip Kingsley, ‘we know that stress uses up vitamin B, and experiments with black rats deprived of B vitamins resulted in their hair going white,’ he writes in his book The Hair Bible (£9.99; Aurum Press Ltd). ‘Similarly, some studies in humans have shown that certain B vitamins taken in large doses can begin to reverse the process of greying.’ So make sure you pop a Vitamin B pill daily.

If you want to prevent stress, try to make some time for yourself (a bath is a good place to start) or try a yoga or Pilates class which can help you relax and breathe properly. You should be breathing deep as often as you can, you should feel your belly move in and out - if not, you're breathing too shallow; proper breathing can help prevent stomach problems and calm you down. Last week, I met with natural skincare guru Tata Harper and we got to talking about our hectic lives, she recommend I rub her stress relieving oil between my palms and take 5 deep breaths, it definitely makes me feel more calm (although I do get some odd looks on the tube at rush hour) - try this with an oil of your choice, whenever you feel stressed.

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