Marie Antoinette Syndrome: Causes, Reasons and Informative

Marie Antoinette Syndrome

Marie Antoinette SyndromeYou might be wondering about turning hair into a grey colour due to stress, as Marie Antoinette syndrome sounds like a fairy tale. How can you get find your hair greyish overnight without any apparent reason?

Well, this is a valid question to come up with. Before the in-depth discussion, a brief history portion will make sense to understand where it caught the limelight from?


History (Where It Gets Its Name) 

Marie Antoinette depicts France’s ill-fated queen (1755-1793). The queen’s hair turned greyish before sentencing her to death. She was about 38 years at that time. This incident got the public’s attention during the French Revolution as it had never happened before, or people had never witnessed it. After popularizing this rare incident, it has been referred to as ‘Marie Antoinette syndrome.’

Likewise, Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) found his hair white a short time before execution. History holds records of some other incidents happening in the past, which intensified its (syndrome) occurring.

In the report of Archives of Dermatology, sudden changes in hair to white colour have also been observed in the WW2 survivors. Let’s discuss what Marie Antoinette’s Syndrome is!


What Is Marie Antoinette Syndrome?

The sudden turning of hair into white or grey refers to the Marie Antoinette Syndrome. As we have already discussed, its name comes from the French queen “Marie Antoinette”.

With age, hair colour becomes greyish, which is normal. Pigments are responsible for hair colour that we start losing with time.

It doesn’t relate to age, but a sudden hair loss (including a hair colour change) occurs in alopecia areata.

Although it doesn’t seem possible to turn hair white within a short time, history witnessed it. In this article, you’ll get to know

  • What does the research suggest?
  • What causes make it possible?
  • Can stress bring it on?
  • When to consult a doctor?


Marie Antoinette syndromeWhat Does Research Suggest?

As of now, research doesn’t present any concrete proof supporting Marie Antoinette syndrome. Besides many stories, antagonists have also opposed this story like a ghost story.

Many researchers came forward to reach a possible outcome, yet most of them have agreed, calling it a myth since science provides no evidence in its favour. Alopecia Areata is linked with Marie Antoinette syndrome as per the article published in the royal society of medical journal.

The controversy is always there because some presume it restricts access to hair dye and other cosmetics. At the same time, some refer this condition to Canities Subita.

Recent research has shown that the cell that makes melanin (a compound that maintains hair colour) also causes hydrogen peroxide. It is a chemical compound that helps in lightening the hair.

As we grow older, there are more likely chances of getting hydrogen peroxide in abundance, resulting in a shortage of melanin. It can cause turning whitish hair overnight. Before delving into more study, let’s find out the possible causes of Marie Antoinette Syndrome.


Causes Of Marie Antoinette Syndrome

Alopecia Areata

It is the most known reason for premature greying or whitening of the hair. Underlying inflammation helps raise symptoms of alopecia areata. A man having grey or white hair already makes it possible to create patches of Alopecia Areata. As a result, those pigments seem quite prominent.

Hormone Changes

Hormonal variations pave the way to baldness or sometimes turning hair-colour whitish. It may get you a variety of side effects along with hair loss. Testosterone levels or disease of the thyroid consist of hormonal changes. To balance the hormone level, a prescription from the practitioner may help out.

Nutrition Deficiency

Some consider it the reason for the sudden turning of hair into white colour. Nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of vitamin B-12, bring this syndrome. Using a sufficient amount of nutrition in a diet helps to reduce this danger. A blood test confirms these deficiencies.

Natural Dark Hair

There is a considerable risk of turning hair whitish in those who have naturally dark hair. Hair colouring finds suitable to get rid of these risks. It can take a decade for greying hair due to naturally darker hair, which may not lead to sudden change. (Nemours Foundation)


Encountering with genes to have premature greying from your ancestors, you’re at risk of having this issue due to gene transfer. Timely treatment helps you a lot, avoiding premature whitening of hair.


It is a disorder bringing skin loss in pigmentation, which creates patches. After depigmentation, you may notice a quiet reduction in grey or white hair due to various treatments, i.e. surgery, light therapy, and corticosteroids.

Can Stress Causes Marie Antoinette Syndrome?

Looking back to Marie Antoinette and Thomas’s incidents, they have been portrayed as caused by shear stress. It had turned down the mechanism of hormonal behaviour, fetching them the greying hair overnight.

Stress cannot even make it possible to happen so early that it may turn your hair whitish. Though, it takes much time to convert hair greyish. So, it doesn’t fit for the exact reason of Marie Antoinette.

However, an underlying, more complex case may trigger it overnight. What needs to be done is find out the more likely reason, which cannot be found yet.

When To Visit A Doctor?

Consulting a practitioner is quite helpful in getting rid of this matter. Getting greyish hair is expected with time, but premature growth or change may leave you in the lurch. Noticing any related symptoms is an alarm to get an appointment with your physician at this time of need. Rashes, hair loss, and patches might be possible symptoms.



Premature growth or turning hair into a grey colour is a concern. History sheds light on the alleged incidents of Marie Antoinette and Thomas.

It comes up as a disease now. There might be several causes, such as gene transfer, vitiligo, natural darker hair, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, and Alopecia Areata.

Seeking help from the best doctor makes you feel comfortable, finding contentment and peace.


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