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January 2007

Hair Graying in Substance Addiction

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(1):115-126. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.1.116

While it is not unusual for popular broadsheet magazines to publish a series of photographs of patients addicted to various substances to demonstrate an obvious rapid aging of the face, the possibility that addiction itself may actually age patients either dermatologically or more generally has not been explored by the methods of modern science. The physical features of interest in such photographs have not been enumerated but might include weight loss; skin thinning, wrinkling, and ulceration; dyed or gray hair; advanced dental decay; and a generally aged and often depressed appearance. These features are all signs of age-related change.1

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