Why do some people go gray?

Special cells in your follicles – your body’s hair-producing factories – produce melanin, the pigment responsible for your hair’s color. These cells begin to die as you age, leaving your hair white or gray. As with baldness, the age at which you begin to gray is determined by your genetics. If your parents had gray hair in their mid-30s or 40s, chances are you will, too.

Gray hair is more noticeable in people with darker hair because it stands out, but people with naturally lighter hair are just as likely to go gray. From the time a person notices a few gray hairs, it may take more than 10 years for all of that person’s hair to turn gray.

Some people think that a big shock or trauma can turn a person’s hair white or gray overnight, but scientists don’t really believe that this happens. Just in case, try not to freak out your parents too much. You don’t want to be blamed for any of their gray hairs.


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