What is the Marie Antoinette syndrome? The syndrome is termed as Marie Antoinette Syndrome because the historical tale exhibited that deposed queen of France Marie Antoinette stride to the guillotine in 1793 and before this she was overstressed. From English martyrs in the 16th century to World War II bombing survivors, history is ripe with accounts of hair turning silver within just a few hours or days of a traumatic event. In fact, the nickname given to the peculiar occurrence comes from one of the most well-known examples in history. But this condition is not age-related. Such conditions change the way your body reacts to healthy cells in the body, inadvertently attacking them. Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Thomas More are also said to have emerged for their executions with an inexplicably white head of hair.. All rights reserved. In the case of Marie Antoinette syndrome-like symptoms, your body would stop normal hair pigmentation. The condition is also said to differ from the natural graying process in timing: most cases claimed to occur suddenly (often “seemingly overnight”) rather than gradually., Doctors generally regard Marie Antoinette syndrome as the stories define it as being a myth. Getting white hair all of a sudden is referred to as Marie Antoinette syndrome. Some people had other symptoms at the time their hair went white, such as hair loss or patches of discoloration on their skin. Read our, Medically reviewed by Casey Gallagher, MD, Verywell Health uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Hair Graying Pattern Depends on Gender, Onset Age and Smoking Habits. Hair dye brand names can be deceiving, since…, The human digestive system is the means by which tissues and organs receive nutrients to function. There may also be another key factor that leads to gray hair. Hair coloring products contain many ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions. As legend has it, the night before she was to be executed by guillotine, her hair turned white. Other specialists, such as a dermatologist, may also be consulted to help determine the cause of a person’s white hair. Marie Antoinette syndrome is distinguished by the abrupt, slightly inexplicable, and also usually permanent whitening of hair in the head or a different area of your human anatomy. scientificamerican.com Published October 24, 2007. Besides the infamous Marie Antoinette, other famous figures in history have also reportedly experienced sudden changes in their hair color. Unlike the natural graying of hair that takes place as people get older, Marie Antoinette syndrome has been reported in people of all ages, including the relatively young. Marie Antoinette syndrome occurs when people lose their hair color after receiving a great shock, undergoing a grievous loss or surviving a life-threatening situation. J R Soc Med. Marie Antoinette was born on November 2, 1755.This means she was born on All Souls Day, a day to remember the dead. Gradually, as people get older, the body makes less melanin. Int J Trichology. According to a review published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2008, the earliest account goes back to 83 AD with a story in the Talmud of a 17-year-old scholar who was said to have worked so hard his hair turned white., One of the most oft-repeated tales comes from 18th-century France. He had no pain, no skin discoloration, no hair loss, and was otherwise healthy. Trichotillomania: What You Should Know About Hair-Pulling Disorder, What You Need to Know About Skin Pigmentation, Treating and Coping Alopecia When You Have Lupus, How Female Pattern Hair Loss Is Treated for Women Who Have PCOS, What to Know About Receding Hairline for Men and Women, The Connection Between Celiac Disease and Hair Loss, have been few in modern medical literature. Even people who are relatively young (in their teens and 20s) can have gray or white hair in places. For example, in 2015 researchers published a case report on a 48-year-old man who had gray hairs on only one leg. Find out how adding zinc, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can give you better looking hair, and learn tips for maintaining your locks. Skellett A, Millington G, J Levell N. Sudden whitening of the hair: an historical fiction?. While the case was unusual and went medically unexplained, doctors didn’t regard it as being impossible—especially since it hadn’t happened overnight. It’s been suggested that the combination of less melanin and more hydrogen peroxide is a mechanism through which hair becomes white. By using Verywell Health, you accept our, Aging Hair: One of the Many Bodily Changes That Come With Age, Rapid Hair Loss in a Single Area May Signal Alopecia Areata, Everything You Need to Know About Dying Your Pubic Hair, The Link Between Hair Loss and Stroke Risk Might Surprise You. Marie Antoinette syndrome " is the term commonly used to for the rapid, premature graying, … William Truswell, MD, is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngology (head and neck) surgeon. In 2016, researchers identified a specific gene responsible for gray hair., While people often joke about stress giving them gray hairs, scientists do think it could play a role. Gray ” Depends on Gender, Onset age and Smoking Habits the facts our! Exhibit and experience these symptoms, your body reacts to healthy cells in the case of Antoinette., someone starts to “ go gray ” Depends on Gender, Onset age and Smoking Habits for! 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