Politics

Obama Going Gray After 44 Days in White House

Facing a historic economic crisis, two wars and countless other pressures, President Obama's hair appears to be going grayer by the day -- and hes only been on the job for 44 of them.

"The gray, it's not a whole lot, but he has a few strands," Zariff, the president's Chicago barber for 17 years, told The Washington Post. "It has showed up a little bit more, especially in the past year."

Zariff, who goes by only one name and has cut hair for nearly two decades, said he first noticed a dash of salt in Obama's peppered hair about three years ago.

And with each debate and primary fight during the 2008 election, Obama's tightly clipped hair seemed to become just a dash saltier.

As president, he's likely finding new signs of wear and tear in the mirror each morning.

"Presidents age two years for every year that they're in office," Michael Roizen, co-founder of RealAge, a Web site that measures how old the body is based on the wear-and-tear of life, told The New York Times.

The 47-year-old's grays are most prominent around his temples and atop his head.

"When I started this campaign, everybody called me a young man -- they're not calling me that anymore," said Obama during a campaign stop in August.

"I'm getting gray hair," he told voters. "Running for president will age you quick."

President George W. Bush, whose hair grayed significantly in eight years at the White House, once attributed it to something more common -- being a father.

"You think my hair is gray because I'm president?" Bush was quoted saying. "No, my hair is gray because of teenage daughters."

Earlier this week European researchers said they figured out why human hair turns gray.

Scientists believe over the course of a lifetime, human hair follicles slowly produces hydrogen peroxide. As the follicles age, the capacity to break down this bleach diminishes because of exposure to oxygen.

Zariff said Obama, unlike many graying Americans, is not worried about the change in color.

"So I don't think we should worry about it that much," he told the Washington Post. "It hasn't affected his basketball game. He still can shoot some hoops."