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Stress might not be to blame for your gray hair

Thursday - 9/20/2012, 8:39am  ET

obamagray.jpg
Gray hair is genetic, but stress combined with genetics can cause gray hair to appear sooner and more quickly. President Barack Obama is shown here in 2008, 2010 and 2012. (AP photos/WTOP composite)

WASHINGTON - Even though it might be keeping you up at night, stress isn't necessarily behind that graying hair.

"Gray hair is largely influenced by genetics and a complex series of cell chemistries," Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist, tells Stylist.

But a stressful life paired with a genetic predisposition won't help the situation.

"The majority of gray hair is genetic, but if the person is predisposed ... stress will make it appear sooner."

Phillips maintains there are always variables. For example, before and after photos of presidents indicate that the stressful job brings on the gray hair.

Genetics could be to blame, but also remember that most of the nation's leaders are usually at the age when graying occurs naturally, anyway.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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