Human hair turns grey as a result of ageing or certain diseases. As a symptom of old age and of loss of youthful vitality this is experienced with considerable anxiety.
Traditionally a problem of special importance to women. Of increasing importance in those societies which make a cult of youthfulness and have difficulty in respecting older generations. This anxiety is reinforced by advertising for pharmaceutical products designed to dye the hair. In many industrialized countries, it is difficult for those in positions of prominence, especially in business or in politics, to avoid pressures to "bring out the natural colour" in hair which would otherwise appear grey. Grey hair is increasingly interpreted as a sign of incompetence relative to younger colleagues.