Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Get An Overview of It

If one gets grey or white hair gradually then one can understand that it is a natural process and happens with everyone. But getting white hair all of a sudden is a matter of surprise and weirdness for not only the doctors but for every human being. Getting white hair all of a sudden refers to Marie Antoinette Syndrome.

If your hair is turning white quickly then it doesn’t mean that you are facing this syndrome but it is a matter of worry so you should contact a doctor immediately.

Today, we will be getting an overview of Marie Antoinette Syndrome, its symptoms, causes, and diagnosis. We will also gather information about the scenarios of hair turning white or grey and what to do in such cases so keep reading the complete post. 

How the name Marie Antoinette Syndrome came and what is it?

Marie Antoinette Syndrome


The name comes from folklore about the French queen Marie Antoinette. The story goes like this way that her hair turned white the night before she was going to be executed in 1793. The folk says that her hair turned white as she was very stressed. And yes, she was not old, her age was only 38 years so if folk is true then how come someone’s hair turn white all of a sudden and that too at a young age. 

This story is there for so long that when people refer to such a problem then they call it “Marie Antoinette Syndrome.”

But this is not the earliest account, one-story dates back even earlier back to 83 AD. There was a scholar whose age was 17 years who was working so hard that his hair was turning white suddenly. 

What Are The Symptoms Of It?

Symptoms of Marie Antoinette Syndrome


Though there are only a few incidents of this problem. That is also not confirmed, we can still check out the symptoms that are popular in it. 

This syndrome is having the peculiar symptom of getting white hair all of a sudden on the head or some other part of the body. It results in permanent whitening of hair. 

There is a report to appear on people of all ages and not just the elder ones. Even the younger ones get white hair all of a sudden. The gradual process of the hair turning grey or white totally fails here. 

One literature review of the rapid whitening of hair provided similar stories where this happened due to life-threatening events like accidents, house fires, traumatic events, death of a loved one, etc. 

Most doctors consider the story and this syndrome as a myth. And you also will be considering it as a myth, right? 

This condition is referred to as canities subita (Latin for “sudden gray hair”) in the case when medical professionals encounter it in modern times. 

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Cause of Marie Antoinette Syndrome

Causes of Marie Antoinette Syndrome


The reason for our hair turning white is the loss of melanin pigments. Melanin pigments are responsible for the hair color and when the age grows, the body starts producing less melanin. And that’s where the hair starts turning white. 

The cells producing melanin also produce hydrogen peroxide and which is responsible for hair bleaching. There is one enzyme called catalase that breaks down hydrogen peroxide and prevents it from affecting the hair strands. But, with increasing age, the body starts producing less catalase so it is also the reason for the white hair.

Researchers have also found out that stress is also the reason for the hair turning white. Through a couple of studies, they have found that hair starts turning white through stress.

Vitiligo and alopecia Areata are problems linked with this syndrome. In Vitiligo, skin color changes to white as the cells that are responsible for skin color no longer function or die.

Alopecia areata is a disease in which hair starts shedding from the head. It starts by forming small areas (coin-like shapes) in which there is no hair and gradually most of the hair falls down. 

In the case of a patient, the hair of only one leg turned white. The patient was absolutely alright and had no health problems or any kind of stress. He was not facing any kind of pain or also not facing the problem of hair loss. But still, this happened. It was a matter of surprise for the doctors as well, it was supposed to be the starting phase of Vitiligo for that patient may be. 

How does the Diagnosis take Place?

Marie Antoinette Syndrome


The doctor will ask the patient surrounding things about the problem like how many days the hair turned white? Which shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, hair dye, or any other hair product have you used over the past couple of months? Are you suffering from any health problems or any mental stress going on currently? The doctor will inspect the situation and then may ask the patient to get the following tests conducted. 

  • Hormone and thyroid levels 
  • Blood counts, electrolytes, and chemistry 
  • Inflammatory or other specific markers for autoimmune diseases

These tests won’t tell how the hair turned white. It will tell the doctor enough about the overall health of the patient. There might be a possibility to refer to a Dermatologist and allergist if needed. 

Treatment for Marie Antoinette Syndrome

Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Treatment


Now, if your hair is turning white at an early age then it is obvious that you will have to worry and look for the possible treatment to cure it. But you should note one point that human hair color starts turning white normally in the twenties and thirties. 

The age and quantity of arrival of white hair vary from one person to another person. Many factors lead to white hair like biological factors, smoking habits, and more. 

So, if you are getting white hair in your twenties or thirties then it is a normal process and nothing to worry about. Yes, but you need to check the quantity of white hair that you are getting. If the count is few then it is ok but if there are too many white hairs then you should get it checked by a medical professional.

You have to consult the doctor if there are signs of alopecia areata. If there is a sign of alopecia areata in their diagnosis, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs are the common approaches that doctors suggest the patients take. 

If you are having a sudden hair fall problem and that too in a big number then you should consult a good doctor immediately before the situation worsens. 

You can use cosmetic products to manage the look of the hair. You can use dye to color your hair and that is fine to do and there is no risk. Yes, but get the hair dye of a branded company.  

Take proper care of the hair. Consult a good doctor as and when required to let them remain as shiny and black as ever.

Get more hair care tips and know about more hair treatments from Healthclubfinder.

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