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Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Real or Myth?


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Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Real or Myth?

Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Real or Myth?

What is Syndrome?

Marie Antoinette Syndrome means a situation where someone’s hair suddenly turns white (canities). This condition comes from the traditional beliefs of the French queen Marie Antoinette. Whose hair is supposedly turning white suddenly before her the carrying out of a plan in 1793?

Graying of hair is natural with age. As one grows older, one may lose the melanin pigments which is responsible for the hair color. But this condition is not an age-related problem. It is relating to the form of alopecia areata — a type of sudden hair loss. It is also important to note regardless of whether stories are true. Marie Antoinette was just only 38 years old at the time of her death.

While the hair will turn white in a relatively short amount of time, this is not likely to happen within minutes. It exists through supposing historical accounts and learning more on the research and the causes behind Marie Antoinette syndrome whether one needs to see the doctor.

What does the research say?

Researchers did not support the theory of sudden hair whiteness. Still, the story of such incidents from history continues to run flourishing. Apart from the infamous Marie Antoinette, other famous figures in history have reportedly experienced sudden changes in their hair color. One crucial example is Thomas More. He was saying to have to undergo a premature whitening of his hair before his execution in 1535.

A report published in the Archives of DermatologyTrusted Source also notes witness act survivors from World War 2. I am experiencing a sudden whitening of the hair. Sudden hair color changes have additionally significant in literature and science untrue, usually with psychological undertones.

Dr. Murray Feingold writes that no research to date suggests that one will lose the hair color overnight. Published in Journal of Royal Society of MedicineTrusted Source argues that it likely linked historical accounts of sudden white hair to alopecia areata or the washing out of temporary hair dye.

Causes of similar phenomena

Causes used to show that Marie Antoinette syndrome is frequently an idea create by an autoimmune disorder. Like conditions change the way the body reacts to healthy cells in the body, accidentally attacks them. Marie Antoinette syndrome-like symptoms, the body will stop normal hair pigmentation. As a result, though the hair will continue to grow, it will gray or white.

Here are other possible causes of premature graying or whitening of the hair mistakenly for this syndrome. Consider the following conditions:


  • Alopecia areata:

     It is one of the most notable causes of pattern baldness. The symptoms of alopecia areata are thinking to be caused by underlying inflammation. It creates hair follicles to stop new hair growth. In turn, existing hair will also fall out. If one already has some gray or white coats, the bald patches from this condition can make such pigment losses more apparent. It will also create the impression that you have new pigment loss when it is now just more critical. Treatment with new hair growth will help to mask the gray hairs. But it cannot necessarily stop the hair from slowly turns gray.

  • Genes:

     If one has a family history of prematurely graying hair, the chances are that one will at risk. According to Mayo Clinic, there is also a gene called IRF4 that will play a role. Genetic liability to graying hair will make it challenging to reverse the hair color changes.

  • Hormonal changes:

     These are thyroid disease, menopause, and drops in testosterone levels. The doctor will advise medications that can help even out the hormone levels and perhaps stop more premature grey.

  • Naturally darker hair:

     Both people with naturally dark and light hair colors are likely to gray. However, if one has dark hair, any form of hair whitening looks more noticeable. Such cases are not reversible but may manage with all-over hair coloring and touch-up kits. According to Nemours Foundation, it will take over a decade for all hairs to turn grey, so this is not a sudden event.

  • Nutritional deficiencies:

     A lack of vitamin B-12 is mainly to blame. One can help to reverse the nutrition-related graying by getting enough of the nutrients. One is lacking a blood test will help confirm such deficiencies. It is also essential to work with the doctor and possibility a Registered Dietitian.

  • Vitiligo:

     This autoimmune disease causes pigment losses in the skin, where one may have to notice white patches. Such effects will extend to the hair pigment, making the hair turning to gray. Vitiligo is difficult to treat, particularly in children; among other options are corticosteroids, surgery, and light therapy. Once the treatment stops the depigmentation process, one may notice fewer gray hairs over time.

Can the stress bring this on?

Marie Antoinette’s syndrome has historically been portrayed as casing through sudden stress in Marie Antoinette, and Thomas More’s cases and their hair color changes in prison on the exact days.

However, the underlying reason for white hair is much more denoting than a single event. The hair color changes are likely relating to another underlying cause.

Stress itself does not cause sudden hair whitening. Over time, chronic stress will lead to premature gray hairs. However, one may also experience hair loss from severe anxiety.

When to see a doctor

Graying hair is not necessarily a health issue. If one notices premature grays, one can mention them to the doctor at the following physical. However, one may want to make an appointment if one is also experiencing other symptoms, like hair loss, bald patches, and rashes.

The takeaway

Premature gray or white hair is undoubtedly a cause for investigation, even though hair cannot turn white overnight. The story of Marie Antoinette’s hair whitening before her death and other similar stories continue to suffer patiently. Rather than focus on these historical stories, it is essential to focus on what medical experts have now understood on graying hair and what one can do.

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