When Will You Go Gray? Your Race Matters

TUESDAY, January 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Could your hair color as you age be determined by your skin color?

Yes, according to new research that suggests race plays a role in when and how your hair turns gray.

Scientists searched 69 publications to review what is known about changes in hair with age, focusing on differences by ethnicity.

They analyzed data on hair structure, features of aging and damage, and differences between races and ethnicities.

Researchers have found that when hair begins to turn gray varies by breed. The average age is in their mid-30s for whites, in their late 30s for Asians, and in their mid-40s for blacks.

Whites and Asians typically experience damage to the distal hair shaft (the ends), while this damage in African Americans occurs closer to the hairline.

Postmenopausal changes in women include less active or growing hair in the frontal scalp, slower growth rates, and smaller hair diameters.

Similar to skin, graying of hair involves both intrinsic graying – natural changes that occur over time – and extrinsic graying, which are changes associated with environmental exposures and physical stress on the hair due to grooming. daily, the researchers explained.

“Despite a similar chemical makeup, the structural properties of hair vary among different ethnicities and therefore hair aging also differs. As the population ages and becomes more diverse, there is a growing need to understand the process. of aging hair in different hair types, ”said study author Dr. Neelam Vashi, associate professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.

According to the authors, the role of hair in protection and appearance makes it important for a person’s physical and mental well-being.

“A thorough understanding of the unique characteristics of aging hair among different races and ethnicities is essential for the proper management of mature patients,” Vashi said in an academic press release.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

More information

The American Academy of Dermatology offers tips for healthy hair.

SOURCE: Boston University School of Medicine, press release, January 21, 2021

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