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Graying of Hair

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Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging
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Aging; Population aging


Graying of hair is an obvious sign of aging process (Tobin and Paus 2001; Kocaman et al. 2012). When age increases, the production of free radicals increases, while the endogenous defense mechanisms decrease (Tobin and Paus 2001; Sabharwal et al. 2014). This imbalance leads to the progressive damage of cellular structure, resulting in the aging phenotype (Trüeb 2006). It is the dysfunction of the melanocyte stem cells that causes the onset of graying (Nishimura et al. 2005). In 1973, grayness of hair was firstly used by Damon and Roen (1973) as a sign of aging. Graying of hair is a physiological process that proved to be positively correlated with chronological age, an indicator of biological age, regardless of gender, ethnicity (Aggarwal et al. 2015; Jo et al. 2012; Kocaman et al. 2012; Lasker and Kaplan 1974; Trüeb 2006; Tobin and Paus 2001), and born hair color (Boas and Michelson 1932; Ortonne et al. 1982; Kocaman et al. 2012).


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Correspondence to Dan Chen .

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Chen, D., Tong, Y. (2019). Graying of Hair. In: Gu, D., Dupre, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-69892-2

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