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November 2015

Streaks of White Hair in Popular Culture: Not as Simple as Black and White

Author Affiliations
  • 1Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(11):1219. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2504

Characters with white-streaked hair appear throughout popular entertainment, from classic literature to movies to comics (Figure). Some characters are born with white streaks; others acquire them—although precisely how differs greatly. An acquired white streak usually signifies something momentous in the character’s history: exposure to magic, a turn to evil or goodness, or most often, physical or psychological trauma.