When Will You Go Gray? Your Race Matters


The scientists conducted a search of 69 publications to review what’s known about changes in hair as people age, focusing on the differences according to ethnicity.They analyzed data on hair structure, aging characteristics and damage, and differences between races and ethnicities.

The researchers found that when hair starts to gray varies by race. The average ages are the mid-30s for whites, late 30s for Asian people, and mid-40s for Black people.Whites and Asians typically experience damage to the distal hair shaft (the ends), while such damage in African-Americans occurs closer to the hair root.

Postmenopausal changes in women include fewer active or growing hairs in the frontal scalp, slower growth rates and smaller hair diameters.Similar to skin, hair aging involves both intrinsic aging — natural changes that occur with time — and extrinsic aging, which are changes associated with environmental exposures and physical stress on the hair from daily grooming, the researchers explained.

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