5 Facts and Myths About Gray Hair

True or false: There is no such thing as gray hair.

The answer: True!

As we age, our hair turns white when the pigment cells at the base of the hair follicle cease to create color. So our hair then becomes a mix of our original color and white, creating an optical illusion of "gray."

Europe's Press Association has helpfully collected the top five facts and myths about gray hair:

1. Genetics is the top cause of going gray, but stress, nutrition and hormones can also influence your hair color. Some diseases, especially of the thyroid, can contribute to premature graying.

2. By age 30, you will likely notice a few gray hairs, and by age 50, about half your hair will be gray. Going gray before age 20 is considered premature graying. Pulling out those first gray hairs will not cause two more to grow in their place, contrary to the old wives' tale.

3. Do dark-haired people go gray earlier than blondes? No. It is just more obvious.

4. White hairs are not courser, contrary to belief. In fact, the opposite tends to be true in that hair becomes finer as we age. Because aging hair is also drier and produces less oil, it can give the impression of being coarser.

5. It is impossible to go gray overnight. It is a more gradual process. The temples typically gray first, followed by the crown and finally the back.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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