Your mom (or dad) grayed early
You’ve probably always wondered what causes gray hair? Well, steel-colored locks are partly in your genes, says Doris Day, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center and author of Forget the Facelift. A study published in Nature Communications isolated one gene variant linked to graying after researchers analyzed hair features of 6,000 Latin Americans. Though you might be surprised about just how much gray you have if you’ve been coloring your hair for years (or decades), says Dr. Day. And you can blame mom and dad. Just like whether you go bald or not, graying genes come from both sides of the family, says Dr. Day. Gray hair is a natural part of aging, but dermatologists want you to stop believing these 10 anti-aging myths.
You may have an autoimmune condition
The autoimmune skin disease called alopecia areata can lead to bright white strands. As the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) explains, people with the condition develop small, round, smooth patches on the scalp, and they can completely lose hair on their head or body. “This happens because your immune system attacks your hair follicles, making your hair fall out. When it grows back, it grows back white,” explains Dr. Day. Some 6.8 million people in America have or will develop the condition, according to the NAAF. If you notice worrisome hair loss or a bald patch, talk to your dermatologist.