Ann Dermatol.  2013 Nov;25(4):401-404. 10.5021/ad.2013.25.4.401.

The Pattern of Hair Dyeing in Koreans with Gray Hair

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Institute of Dermatological Science, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Dermatology, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


Hair graying is considered as a part of normal ageing process. Nonetheless, this process raises a significant cosmetic concern, especially among ethnic Korean elderly whose baseline hair color is black. For this reason, Korean elderly dye their hair with frequency despite the risk of dermatologic problems such as allergic contact dermatitis.
In this study, the authors investigate the prevalence and pattern of hair dyeing and its relation with scalp diseases in Korea.
Six hundred twenty subjects (330 men and 290 women) with graying hair were given a questionnaire survery and underwent a physical examination.
Of the 620 total, 272 subjects (43.9%) dyed their hair. Hair dyeing was significantly more frequent among women than among men (p<0.001). Subjects from 50 to 69 years of age showed higher prevalence of hair dyeing when compared to either younger or older groups. Subjective self-assessment of the extent of hair graying was associated with increased prevalence of hair dyeing, that is, individuals who feel graying has advanced by more than 20% of the overall hair were much more likely to dye their hair (p<0.001). Hair dyeing did not correlate with either alopecia or scalp disease.
Our survey has found that the prevalence of hair dyeing is higher among Korean women than men. People in their fifties and sixties and people with more than 20% extent of grayness were more likely to dye their hair than otherwise. Hair dyeing was not associated with any increase in the prevalence of scalp diseases.


Hair color; Hair dyes

MeSH Terms

Hair Color
Hair Dyes
Surveys and Questionnaires
Hair Dyes


  • Fig. 1 Proportions of subjects with dyed hair by age in each age group.

  • Fig. 2 Proportions of subjects with dyed hair according to the extent of grayness. Grade 1: gray hair less than 20% among total hair, grade 2: 20%~40%, grade 3: 40%~60%, grade 4: 60%~80%, grade 5: more than 80%.

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Seong Jin Jo, Hyoseung Shin, Seung Hwan Paik, Sun Jae Na, Yingji Jin, Won Seok Park, Su Na Kim, Oh Sang Kwon
Ann Dermatol. 2013;25(2):218-222.    doi: 10.5021/ad.2013.25.2.218.


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