Here's everything you need to know about gray hair.

September 21, 2017

Some see going gray as a rite of passage, while others want to avoid it at all costs. But everyone’s hair color changes eventually, and finding your first silver strand can be a shock, especially when you’re young. Appearance aside, we wanted to know what going gray means for our health, and what causes some people to reach the milestone earlier than others. In this video, we’ll explain everything you need to know about gray hair.

It’s common for most people to find their first gray hair in their 30s, but every decade after you have a 10% to 20% chance of hair turning gray. Locks change color when the hair follicles stop producing as much melanin, or pigment. As you age, melanin production in the body naturally slows down.

Of course, your genes play a major part in when you go gray. If your mom or dad became a silver fox early, it’s likely you will too.

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But is there anything you can do to prevent your mane from changing color apart from a trip to the salon? Getting adequate exercise and cutting back on excess calories could delay the graying process. Keeping stress levels at bay may also help. Though it’s not proven that stress turns hair gray, we’ve all seen the anecdotal evidence of presidents aging in office. Make sure you’re not lacking vitamin B12 and don’t smoke, since both can increase one’s likelihood of going gray early.

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If you do find a gray strand, don’t pluck it. Removing it won’t cause more to appear, but the hair that does grow back will also be gray, shorter, and potentially unruly, sticking out in weird ways.

If you’re anxious about concealing a gray hair, use a spritz of tinted dry shampoo or a swipe of root concealer to cover it up. Or go ahead and embrace it! Silver can be stunning, after all. Just be sure to use a blue-violet-based shampoo to prevent gray hair from yellowing from minerals in tap water.