Association of premature hair graying with family history, smoking, and obesity: a cross-sectional study

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Feb;72(2):321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Dec 4.


Background: Many researchers have been concerned about the association of hair graying with systemic diseases. However, the common factors associated with hair graying and systemic diseases have not been elucidated.

Objective: This study aimed to identify risk factors for premature hair graying (PHG) in young men.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using questionnaires in young men. After a pilot study that included 1069 men, we surveyed 6390 men younger than 30 years about their gray hair status and various socioclinical characteristics.

Results: The age of participants in the main survey was 20.2 ± 1.3 years (mean ± SD). Of the 6390 participants, 1618 (25.3%) presented with PHG. Family history of PHG (odds ratio [OR], 12.82), obesity (OR, 2.61), and >5 pack-years history of smoking (OR, 1.61) were significantly associated with PHG. In the multivariate analysis, family history of PHG (OR, 2.63) and obesity (OR, 2.22) correlated with the severity of PHG.

Limitations: Owing to the use of questionnaires, the possibility of recall bias exists. Women were not evaluated in this study.

Conclusion: Smoking, family history of PHG, and obesity are important factors associated with PHG.

Keywords: body mass index; gray hair; obesity; premature hair graying; smoking.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hair Color / genetics
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pigmentation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / genetics
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Surveillance
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Scalp Dermatoses / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Graying of Hair, Precocious