Kids home for the summer? Well then, look for a few more grey hairs by fall. It’s affirmative scientists have found too much stress really does turn our hair white.

Researchers discovered the cells that give hair its color disappear when the body is exposed to stress hormones. And unfortunately for those affected, these ‘colorful’ cells are unlikely to return, leaving the hair grey for good.

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Dr Mayumi Ito from New York University, who led the latest study, said there was evidence that stress could make melanin ‘migrate’ away from the hair follicle to the skin.

They began with the premise that  when the human body is injured, stem cells responsible for producing melanin – the dark pigment that protects us from sunlight – move from hair follicles to the skin, to help limit the damage.

In their tests on mice, the same permanent draining of color occurred when the animals were exposed to stress hormones.

The researchers said this could explain why stress can also cause pigmentation which makes the skin appear darker.

Most of us spot our first grey hairs around the age of 25, and everything from genes to alcohol and smoking have been blamed for kicking off the process.

There are tales of people going grey overnight after bereavement or shock.

Previous research has also blamed adrenaline for turning hair prematurely grey.

‘We thought it would be interesting to speculate that excessive stress might promote this migration too much,’ he said.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine, concludes: ‘Stress hormones are known to promote skin pigmentation, yet strangely enough, they are believed to promote hair greying.