Marie Antoinette Syndrome – Is It True? Find Out

    Marie Antoinette Syndrome- Causes, Symptoms, And Many More

    Marie Antoinette Syndrome is a condition in which a person’s hair turns white all of a sudden. Imagine you wake up seeing white hair strands, how does that feel?

    The name Marie Antoinette came from old folklore about a queen named Marie Antoinette whose hair turned white suddenly before she was executed in 1793.

    We all know that graying of hair is absolutely natural once we start aging or growing old. When we grow old, we start losing the melanin pigment present inside our hair which is responsible for keeping them black and shiny. But you should know that the condition Marie Antoinette syndrome is not at all based on ones’ age, instead, it is quite related to alopecia areata. This is a condition in which hair loss occurs fast. It is not mentioned in many folklores, but it was said that when Marie was executed she was only 38 years of age, and having all white hair suddenly at that age was nearly a disease or syndrome.

    While it is not impossible nowadays for turning hair into white color in less age, it is still not possible to turn hair into white color all of a sudden or into few minutes. As per historical events, it was explained that Marie’s hair turned white. Let’s see what is Marie Antoinette syndrome and how it caused and how you can avoid your hair turning white.

    Research About Marie Antoinette Syndrome

    old, people, woman
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    Research has not supported the hair tuning white all of a sudden but many tales indicate that people have faced the issue. Not only Marie, but many other stories from history have also suggested hair turning into white. One more notable example of such a condition is Thomas More. He also experienced sudden whitening of his hair before he was executed in the year 1535. Why does it happen before execution?

    There was a report published inside the Archives of Dermatology that also mentioned some incidents about people whose hair turned white all of a sudden in world war 2. Other than real-life incidents, some are mentioned inside the literature and science fiction as well. They usually occur with psychological undertones.

    Let’s see what might have caused the sudden whitening of hair in people.

    Causes Of Marie Antoinette Syndrome

    It has been concluded that the causes of marine Antoinette syndrome are mostly resulting from autoimmune disorders. Such conditions change the manner In which an individual’s body reacts to healthy cells inside the body and attacks them. In the case of such syndrome, the body stops normal pigmentation of your air causing them to turn white. As a result, there would be no stoppage of your hair growth but once they grow they will appear grey or white in color similar to old age.

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    But this is not the only cause of hair turning white. There are some other causes too which might cause your hair to turn white before aging. You have to look into the symptoms carefully before assuming that you have Marie Antoinette syndrome. It is not always necessary that the white color in hair is the cause of marine Antoinette. Some other conditions that might cause hair tuning white are:

    Alopecia Areata

    One of the most notable and essential causes of hair tuning white is Alopecia Areata. This is also a common cause of baldness patterns. The symptoms of this condition are thought to be caused due to inflammation problems. This will cause inhibition of new hair or prevent follicles to stop hair growth. In turn, your existing hair might also fall. This might also cause an impression in some people that resembles hair loss. There are few treatments available for this condition that can help you mask grey hair with new hair, but they cannot stop greying of hair.


    You can also talk to your family and ask them about family history related to hair. If you have a family history of grey hair you are most likely to get grey hair at a young age. This can be stopped through some medications prescribed by your doctor. As per reports by mayo clinic, a gene called IRF4 plays a crucial role in greying hair. The genetic predisposition to graying hair usually makes it challenging to reverse any changes in hair color.

    Hormonal Changes

    Some people also go through a lot of changes in their hormones which results in greying of hair naturally. This may also include some diseases such as thyroid, drop in the level of testosterone, and menopause. There are medications that can help you with these changes.

    Naturally Darker Hair

    There are certain misconceptions that people having higher hair will develop grey hair but it is not so. Both people having lighter and darker hair are equally likely to develop grey hair. However, people having darker hair are more likely to get noticed once their hair turns black. Changes in hair can be easily managed through hair colors or natural dyes. You should know that it can take over a decade for all your hair to turn white as it not overnight change as Marie Antoinette Syndrome suggests.

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    Natural Deficiencies

    Sometimes when your body lacks essential nutrients and vitamins, it can be a major cause of greying in your hair. Lack of vitamin B12 is mainly responsible for this change. If you wish to manage these changes you will have to eat food rich in certain vitamins or take supplements after talking to a doctor about the changes you notice. You can take some blood tests in nearby clinics to know more about deficiencies and what are important supplements to take. You can also talk to your dietician to know more.


    This is an autoimmune disease that is responsible for causing pigment losses from your skin. You are likely to see white patches in this. These effects might also extend to the pigments of one’s hair making your hair turn grey in color. When this disease occurs in children, it becomes slightly more difficult to get treated.

    However, there are few treatment options available for this disease such as light therapy, surgery, and corticosteroids. Once this treatment stops, the pigmentation also stops due to which you are likely to notice grey hair over time.

    Relation Between Stress And Marie Antoinette Syndrome

    Historically it has been portrayed that marine Antoinette syndrome is caused due to stress or sudden stress. There are few cases that prove and throw more light on the fact that stress is related to turning hair into a different color. This happened in the final days when Marie and Thomas were in prison.

    However, if we talk about it more practically the underlying cause of having white hair is much more complex than just stress occurring due to a single event like being executed. In fact, a change in hair color is more likely related to some other type of underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed.

    Stress alone is not enough to cause such a major change overnight. Over time, chronic stress might lead to premature grey hair and hair loss.


    Marie Antoinette Syndrome
    Photo by fsHH on Pixabay

    Another condition common to Marie Antoinette Syndrome is Canities Subita. Most adults do have some white hair on their heads by the time they acquire middle age. But when a person starts noticing more white hair than normal it usually becomes a concern for them. It depends on each individual when they will notice grey hairs. For some people, it might start in their early 20s but for some, it might take a longer time to see visible changes except for 2 or 3 hair follicles.

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    If someone is diagnosed with some other underlying condition such as Alopecia, there are possible treatments available including anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids.

    For people who have noticed unexpected or early age changes in their hair color, the most common and effective treatment is using a good hair dye. It does not necessarily require any kind of medical treatment for this condition to be treated. There are many dye products available in both permanent and semi-permanent forms and they are available in almost all hair colors which makes them completely reliable for all hair types and hair color.

    Hair dye options are available in different quality and price from professional ranges of salons to inexpensive brands that are easily found at local shops and pharmacies. There are some other alternatives to hair due too like using henna which usually does not have any added chemicals.

    You can choose as per your price range and quality you wish to have for your hair.

    When Do You Need Help

    If you have noticed your hair turning grey suddenly, it is not a major concern to be worried about. Greying hair is not a major concern. If you are among those individuals who have noticed premature greying of hair, you can always talk to your elders or visit a doctor for help only if you need it or greying of hair is causing a loss of confidence or self-esteem.

    If you are facing more symptoms along with greying of hair like major hair loss, rashes, or bald patches in your head, it might be due to some underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed by the doctor, in such cases you should visit for help.

    The Bottom Line

    Premature white hair or grey hair might be a cause of underlying diseases at an early age, which makes it certainly a cause for investigation. Even though your hair cannot turn white in color overnight, there are many tales of Marie Antoinette Syndrome that are most likely to be true. The stories were all about her hair turning white just before her death which makes stress and fear of dying a reason to be questioned.

    If you face any such event in your life or losing hair at a young age, you should always consult a doctor to seek help and get all the check-ups done to know about any other related diseases.

    This was all you needed to know about Marie Sntonnetter Syndrome and how it is caused. You may decide if it is a myth or based on actual instances. If you wish to know more about hair and how you can use hot oil treatment, do read this to gather useful information.


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