Marie Antoinette Syndrome – Overview, Symptoms and Treatment

Marie Antoinette Syndrome

One of the scariest nightmares anyone can think about can be their hair turning completely white overnight. Isn’t it the scariest one? Well, hair plays a crucial role in adding beauty to your personality. If anything goes wrong with hair, it is a serious issue. One such issue we are going to discuss today in this blog is about marie antoinette syndrome. 

Be hearing this you might be wondering what is marie antoinette syndrome and what has this to do with hair? Well, hold on we will be discussing everything about this syndrome in this blog and what this has to do with hair will also be answered.

Marie Antoinette syndrome is a kind of a situation where someone’s hair turns completely white overnight. It might sound weird or scary but this is a reality. Several people have gone through this syndrome.

The reason behind all this is ‘emotional stress’. This specific syndrome is caused by high-level emotional stress which in turn results in less pigmentation of hair. This results in overnight change in human hair color into white.

Hair turning gray naturally due to age is common and acceptable. Once you start growing older, you start losing melanin pigments which are responsible for your hair color turning white. Again, if your hair is turning white gradually due to any other reason like lack of calcium or due to any medication, it is understandable as it turns slowly and not just overnight.

Stress and overwork are known to be the two most major causes of Marie Antoinette syndrome. Excess emotional stress is not at all good for your body and for your hair too. History says that stress is one of the main causes for people who suffer from this syndrome.

Many of you might be wondering why this is named as Marie Antoinette syndrome? To have a clear view regarding this syndrome let’s quickly take an overview of this syndrome.

What is Marie Antoinette Syndrome? 

As mentioned earlier, Marie Antoinette syndrome is described as a situation where someone’s hair turns white in a rapid manner. The reason behind the name of this situation is that it is named after an incident which happened in real life. The name of the woman who first went through this syndrome was Marie Antoinetee.

The name alludes to the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette whose hair allegedly turned completely white just the day before she was sentenced by guillotine. She was only 38 when she died, which means she was not old enough that her hair turns gray overnight due to age.

The other name of this condition is ‘canities subita’. Beside the story of Marie Antoinette, there are some other famous figures too which have gone through this disorder. Sir Thomas More and Mary Queen of Scots are also one of those who have experienced human hair color turning completely white just before their execution.

Research says that apart from this syndrome there can be no other reason for hair turning completely white in an overnight only. According to facts, the earliest record of claiming sudden whitening of hair is represented in Talmud, a 17 year old boy who worked very hard and did overwork which resulted in white hair overnight.

Can stress be a cause of sudden whitening hair? 

According to history, Marie Antoinette’s and Sir Thomas More’s hair color changed overnight due to the stress of being sentenced to death just the next day. The day before their death they were in prison. During their final days in prison their hair started turning gray.

The incident of Talmud, a 17 year old scholar, was also due to overwork issues. Taking these all incidents we can hence say that stress and overwork can be the reason for Marie Antoinette Syndrome.


The major symptom of Marie Antoinetee syndrome is a sudden and inexplicable whitening of scalp hair or another part of the body.

Irrespective of age factor, this syndrome can happen at any age. This condition is different from the natural graying of hair once you start growing older. The syndrome cases have been reported of all ages including young ones.

Apart from human hair color turning completely white there are other symptoms too of this syndrome. Hair loss and discoloration patches on the skin are also the symptoms of Marie Antoinette syndrome.

Some people were thought to have conditions such as vitiligo or alopecia. Recent cases of this syndrome are not overnight but the 54 year old lady’s hair turned gray over the course of several weeks. The lady was known to be completely healthy with no stress factor and no recent trauma experience.

Apart from these two major symptoms, there are as such no other symptoms of this syndrome. Hair turning gray, hair loss and patches of discoloration on the skin are known to be the most common symptoms of Marie Antoinette syndrome.



Hair whitening can happen due to several reasons. Many of us experience this issue when they are in their middle age. It is considered normal if your hair turns gray if you are getting older but if you are in your early 40s and you experience this sudden change in hair color, it can be dangerous.

Factors such as lack of calcium and smoking habits can surely influence the rate of hair whitening. People who are diagnosed with an underlying medical condition, alopecia can approach several different treatments which includes steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Change in human hair color is a part of an ageing process. If your hair color is changing due to age factor, you don’t need to go through any medical treatments.

If someone has experienced rapid and unexplainable hair whitening, the best available treatment is hair dye. Hair dye options come in a variety of colors and quality. Remember, hair dye includes chemical properties so read all the instructions carefully before applying to your hair.

There is no specific treatment for this condition, all you can do is change your lifestyle, eat healthy food and live a stress free life. Stress and overwork are two major reasons behind this condition. Try to bring a change in your lifestyle if you think your lifestyle can be a reason behind this.

Marie Antoinette syndrome is often considered to be caused by an autoimmune disorder. This disorder brings a change in the way your body reacts to your healthy cells by attacking them.

Never take over stress for any issue. Stress can bring many uninvited diseases to your body. Take proper diet-rich food, sleep properly, exercise regularly and live a better lifestyle. This is the only treatment one can recommend you for Marie Antoinette syndrome.


To sum up all, human hair color can change due to several reasons but if your hair turns white suddenly without any reason, consult your doctor for the same. Your doctor can give you better advice and can help you in knowing the reason behind this.

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