There is a lot of misinformation floating around when it comes to why some people go gray early. We blame the silver, wiry strands on stress, blowing drying our hair too often, and even harsh treatments and dyes. But as it turns out, science hasn’t proven any of those to be causes. But one actual reason for gray hair? No drumroll here; it’s genetics.

According to Dr. James Kirkland, the director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress isn’t the leading cause of gray hair like we thought; it all comes down to your parents. If either or both of them went gray pretty early, chances are you will too.

While your DNA is out of your control, there is one thing that causes your hair to age that you CAN control, and that’s if you smoke cigarettes regularly.

Then, in some less common cases, gray hair can be indicative of something more serious, like heart disease. “If you’ve got heart disease and your hair is gray, it’s a sign of worse heart disease,” Kirkland said. Other causes could include autoimmune or thyroid issues. If you’re worried, definitely speak to your doctor.

So folks, if you’ve noticed a few gray hairs sprouting here or there, you can stop blaming stress — and start blaming your parents.

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(h/t Hello Giggles; Photo via Jamie McCarthy, Sebastian Reuter/Getty)